Professor Howard Fallowfield


College of Science and Engineering

place Health Sciences (5.22)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Professor Fallowfield is an aquatic microbial ecologist. A graduate of Leeds University in microbiology and food science he received his PhD degree from University of Dundee, Scotland for research on the microbial ecology of Scottish lochs. Following Postdoctoral appointments at The Queen's University of Belfast he worked for 10 years as academic and specialist adviser with Scottish Agricultural Colleges, Scottish Department for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. 

Since arriving in Australia in 1993, his research focus has been on the public health aspects of water quality, which has been conducted across a range of aquatic environments including drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and recreational waters. Howard has some 40 years' research experience in the UK and Australia, designing, constructing, operating and evaluating the performance of pilot plants for both drinking water and wastewater treatment.

Current projects include:

  •     Research leading to the adoption of high rate algal ponds (HRAPs) for the treatment of wastewater from rural communities in South Australia. Including promulgation of an HRAP Design Guideline by Local Government Association of South Australia in association with the Department of Health and Wellbeing for use in Community Wastewater Management Schemes (HRAP Design Guideline, 2020).
  •     Beneficial algal-bacterial biofilms for wastewater treatment (ARC Training Centre for Biofilm Research and Innovation, ARC Biofilm Centre )
  •     Determining the factors affecting the quality of water recovered from managed aquifer recharge schemes,e.g. inorganic nitrogen, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, bacteria and viruses, (One Basin CRC, One Basin CRC)
  •     Assessment of risk associated with irrigating plants for human consumption with wastewater contaminated with cyanobacterial toxins (SA Water, Water Research Australia, Water Research Australia).

Howard continues to seek collaboration with industry and government organisations to address their research and development needs.

BSc (Hons)  in Microbiology & Food Science, University of Leeds, UK.
PhD  in freshwater microbial ecology.University of Dundee, Scotland.
Honours, awards and grants

2020 Stormwater South Australia Excellence in Research & Innovation awarded for Joint Research Between Flinders University and City of Marion, Local Governement Association and the Managed Aquifer Recharge Users Group recognising the Oaklands Parks Wetlands Education Centre contribution to STEM education and outreach. Oaklands Park Wetlands and Education Centre video

2020, Australian Awards for University Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (2020) with Dr Kirstin Ross and Dr Harriet Whiley.

2019 joint winner of the Australian Water Association (SA Branch) Infrastructure Innovation Project Award with Peterborough District Council and the SA Local Government Association for Peterborough Community Wastewater Managment Scheme; incorporating two 5000m2 high rate algal ponds.

2017 I was a member of the Environmental Health Team, with Dr Kirstin Ross and Dr Harriet Whiley, presented with the Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

Key responsibilities

Prof. Fallowfield, within the College of Science and Engineering, is coordinator of Research Higher Degrees associated with earth and environmental sciences and environmental health. Howard also is chairperson of the Oaklands Wetlands Governance Committee and a member of the Professional Advisory Committee of the Graduate Diploma in Environmental Health Practice.

Teaching interests

My contribution to teaching reflects my expertise and interest in microbial ecology, particularly of aquatic environments, which have the potential to influence human health. Water quality and the treatment of wastewater, drinking water and stormwater is a specific focus together with the eutrophication of freshwater and the impact and management of cyanobacterial blooms.

Topic coordinator
ENVS9731 Public Health Aspects of Water Quality
ENVH9732 Legislation Relevant to Environmental Health
Topic lecturer
ENGR8951 Hydraulic and Water Engineering
ENVH7742 Microbiology and Communicable Disease
ENGR3851 Hydraulic and Water Engineering
ENVS9731 Public Health Asoects of Water Quality
ENVH2712 Environmental Change and Human Health
ENVS9770 Water Resources Management Minor Research Project
ENVS9760 Water Resources Management Industry Placement
EASC1101 Earth and Environmental Sciences
ENVS9730 Water Resources Management Major Research Project
Supervisory interests
Drinking water treatment
Environmental microbiology
Health aspects of water quality
Wastewater pond technology
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Behaviour of chemicals of concern in managed aquifer recharge schemes, Microbial ecology of high rate algal ponds for wastewater treatment (1), Algae-bacteria relationships in HRAPs - lab and field study (2), Characterisation of the inorganic and microbial water quality envelope for successful water banking in the MDB for agriculture, town water supply and environmental benefit (1), Beneficial algal-bacterial biofilms for wastewater treatment (2)
Associate supervisor: Passive samplers for wastewater based epidemiology (2), Microplastic Detection and Quantification in Water Samples across Freshwater Environments via Flow Cytometry (1), Water quality and biofilm characterisation and control (1), Economic analysis of water banking and managed aquifer recharge as innovations for enhancing and regulating water supply (1), Wastewater from recreational vehicles (1), Biofilm development and control in distribution systems (1)
Principal supervisor: Carbon budgets for treatment lagoons (2), Water treatment using a nitrifying biofilter (2), Cyanobacterial toxin production; removal by bank filtration (2), Microbial induced corrosion of copper pipe (1), Strategies for the removal of suspended solids from waste stabilisation ponds (1), Integrating biological and hydraulic aspects of waste stabilisation pond design (2), Isolation of Campylobacter from chicken (1), Performance of a flat plate airlift photobioreactor (1), Computer modelling of high rate algal ponds (1), Nitrogen cycling in waste stabilisation ponds (1), Photosynthesis in wastewater treatment lagoons (4), Exploitation of wastewater grown algal biomass for energy production (1), Water treatment using nitrifying and denitrifying filters (1), Comparison of waste stabilisation pond and high rate algal pond wastewater treatment perfomance — Principal (1) (1)
Associate supervisor: Origin of pollution determined by faecal steriod analysis (1), Microbial risk assessment of recreational, drinking and ruse waters (3), Microbial risk assessment of wastewater irrigated vegetables (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Dr Paul Young

Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence - MAY 2021

Dr. Amirhosein Ramazanpour Esfahani

Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence - MAY 2021

Dr Paul Young

HDR Student Research Impact Prize - MAY 2021

Expert for media contact
Community/Public Health
Waste Treatment
Water Resources
Public Health Aspects of Water Quality
Waste Water Treatment
Water Quality
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Community/Public Health
  • Environment
  • Toxicology/Toxins
  • Waste Treatment
  • Water Resources
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Public Health Aspects of Water Quality
  • Waste Water Treatment
  • Water Quality
Further information

Validation of wastewater treatment in a rural South Australian community using high rate algal ponds (HRAPs), International ICEWaRMwebinar August 2016

ICEWaRM webinar July 2017 Community Waste Water Reuse with High Rate Algal Ponds HRAP #2 considers treatment mechanisms

ICEWaRM Webinar July 2018

Oaklands Park Wetlands and Education Centre initiative 2020