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1981 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Biography

Professor Fallowfield is an aquatic microbial ecologist. His research focus is health aspects of water quality, which has been conducted across a range of aquatic environments including drinking water, wastewater and recreational waters. Howard has some 25 year's research experience in the UK and Australia, designing, constructing, operating and evaluating the performance of pilot plants for both drinking water and wastewater treatment. Successful research projects include the design and operation of high rate  algal ponds (HRAPs)  for the treatment of abattoir wastewater;  construction and evaluation of  new HRAP designs for the treatment of wastewater from  rural communities in  South Australia.  The application of HRAPs for the  treatment of wastewaters and on-site biomass energy production is also a current research project.  A further research interest is the remediation of  drinking water and groundwater contaminated with inorganic nitrogen, pharmaceuticals and personal care products using biological filters.

Research Interests

My research focusses on exploiting aquatic microbial ecology for the treatment of drinking water and wastewater. I have significant experience in both UK and Australia, designing, constructing, operating and evaluating the performance of lagoon systems (including waste stabilisation ponds and high rate algal ponds - HRAPs) for the treatment of domestic and agri-food wastewaters. Much of the research is conducted at pilot-demonstration scale. Our research on the performance of two HRAPs treating wastewater in a rural South Australian community, following independent validation, lead to regulatory approval and wider adoption of this sustainable technology in South Australia.  The HRAP research has recently extended to the integration of treatment and sustainable on-site algal biomass energy production and to the managment of risk associated with treated wastewater reuse for agriculture in the Asia-Pacific region. Understanding the influence of operational and environmental parameters on the mechanisms for the removal of mrobial pathogens in treatment systems is of particular interest.

Integrated anaerobic-aerobic and algal treatment of piggery wastewaters is also a current area of research using a purpose built pilot scale treatment system funded via membership of the High Integrity Australian Pork CRC.  

This expertise is recognised internationally through membership of the Scientific Organising Committee for five of the International Water Association's Specialist Group Conference on Wastewater Pond Technologies and as Chair of the Organising Committee for the 9th specialist conference held in Adelaide in 2011. The HRAP research is also supporting the implementation of the WHO Sanitation Planning Manual through contribution to the Global Water Pathogen Project.

My group also conducts research on the performance of constructed wetlands integrated with Managed Aquifer Recharge Schemes. The focus is on the removal of microorganisms, phamaceuticals and personal care products by these integrated systems.

Completed Supervisions

Principal Supervisions:
  • Photosynthesis in wastewater treatment lagoons (4)
  • Carbon budgets for treatment lagoons (2)
  • Cyanobacterial toxin production; removal by bank filtration (2)
  • Integrating biological and hydraulic aspects of waste stabilisation pond design (2)
  • Water treatment using a nitrifying biofilter (2)
  • Comparison of waste stabilisation pond and high rate algal pond wastewater treatment perfomance (1)
  • Computer modelling of high rate algal ponds (1)
  • Exploitation of wastewater grown algal biomass for energy production (1)
  • Isolation of Campylobacter from chicken (1)
  • Microbial induced corrosion of copper pipe (1)
  • Nitrogen cycling in waste stabilisation ponds (1)
  • Performance of a flat plate airlift photobioreactor (1)
  • Strategies for the removal of suspended solids from waste stabilisation ponds (1)
  • Water treatment using nitrifying and denitrifying filters (1)
Associate Supervisions:
  • Microbial risk assessment of recreational, drinking and ruse waters (3)
  • Microbial risk assessment of wastewater irrigated vegetables (1)
  • Origin of pollution determined by faecal steriod analysis (1)


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Ecology and conservation
  • Environmental health
  • Hydrology

Supervisory Interests

  • Wastewater pond technology
  • Health aspects of water quality
  • Drinking water treatment
  • Environmental microbiology


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