RTP Floating treatment wetland to reduce urban stormwater pollution

Curtin University

Perth WA, Australia 🇦🇺

Status: Open

Applications open: 12/07/2021
Applications close: 30/08/2021View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

Description/Applicant information

Rapid urbanization has significant impacts on urban flooding and on the water quality of nearby water bodies receiving urban runoff. Urbanization transforms natural pervious surfaces to impervious surfaces limiting the natural recharge process and enhances the urban flooding. Because of this, the increased surface runoff reaches the surface water body such as, lakes, rivers or coastal waters and deteriorate the water quality. The wash-off urban runoff contains various pollutants including suspended solids, nutrients, oxygen demanding substances, heavy metals and hydrocarbons. Excessive nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorous) levels in water bodies can result in growth of algae and other aquatic plants. This promotes eutrophication (a phenomenon of excessive aquatic plant growth such as macrophytes and algae) which has become a serious threat for urban waterways. The presence of heavy metals (such as lead-Pb, cadmium-Cd, zinc-Zn and copper–Cu, chromium-Cr and nickel-Ni) originated from traffic-related sources (brake linings, tires, pavement wear and automobile exhaust) has significant health impacts on humans and aquatic lives. That is why, it is necessary to develop efficient and environment friendly best management practices for managing stormwater. 
Currently, various best management practices (BMPs) have been introduced for stormwater management which include gross pollutant traps, constructed wetlands, retention ponds, detention basins, grass swales, vegetated filter strips, biofilters, sand filters and catch basin inserts. We have been extensively investigated many of these BMPs in our laboratory including constructed wetlands, biofilters and catch basin inserts. Currently we are investigating the floating treatment wetland as a new innovative technology to reduce urban pollution. Floating treatment wetland uses plants as a floating treatment island (FTI) within the waterbody and it works in hydroponic system. Plants uptake the pollutants through their roots for their survival and thus treats the water. There are many factors affecting the efficiency of FTI but many of them are still unexplored. There is no information regarding the design parameters of FTI such as area to volume ratio of FTI and the water body, inlet-outlet configuration and/or FTI spacing. In addition, there is a lack of understanding about the microbial activities of FTI and the uptake mechanisms of plant roots that have significant impact on the efficiency of FTI in treating water. Moreover, at this moment there is no information which WA native plants would be suitable for FTI system. This project will use WA native plants to select their suitability in FTI system and will investigate various design configurations of FTI and their microbial developments in the roots and surround floating body of the FTI. The overall treatment will be quantified and the contribution of each element of the FTI will be separated to understand the treatment mechanisms of FTI. This will help in designing the efficient FTI system, which would be considered as a new BMP for a sustainable management of stormwater. Student type

  • Future Students


  • Faculty of Science & Engineering
    • Engineering courses

Course type

  • Higher Degree by Research


  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa

Scholarship base

  • Merit Based


Total value of the annual scholarships (stipend and fees) is approx. $60,000 – $70,000 p.a. Curtin PhD Stipends are valued at $28,597 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3.5 years.

Successful applicants will receive a 100% Fee offset.

Scholarship Details

Maximum number awarded

1Eligible courses

All applicable HDR coursesEligibility criteria

This project is for a potential PhD applicant with BEng (First class honours) degree in civil engineering or Master’s Degree in water/environmental engineering from a reputed university who has an extensive research experiences/publications in water/environmental engineering. His English language IELTS level of 6.5 or equivalent TOEFL Score is required. 

Application process

If this project excites you, and your research skills and experience are a good fit for this specific project, you should email the project lead, expressing your interest (EOI) in this project.

Your EOI email should include your current curriculum vitae, a summary of your research skills and experience and the reason you are interested in this specific project.

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2022


To enquire about this project opportunity contact the Project lead (listed below).

Name: Associate Professor Faisal Anwar

Email:[email protected]

Contact Number: 9266 9053