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Quantitative microbial risk assessment of Greywater on-site reuse.

  • Author(s): Shi, Kuang-Wei
  • Wang, Cheng-Wen
  • Jiang, Sunny C
  • et al.
Abstract

Recycle domestic greywater for on-site non-potable uses can lessen the demand on potable water and the burden on wastewater treatment plants. However, lack of studies to assess health risk associated with such practices has hindered their popularity. A Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment was conducted to estimate the public health risks for two greywater reuse scenarios: toilet flushing and food-crop irrigation. Household greywater quality from three sources (bathroom, laundry and kitchen) was analyzed. Mathematical exposure rates of different scenarios were established based on human behavior using Monte-Carlo simulation. The results showed that, greywater from all three household sources could be safely used for toilet flushing after a simple treatment of microfiltration. The median range of annual infection risk was 8.8 × 10-15-8.3 × 10-11 per-person-per-year (pppy); and the median range of disease burden was 7.6 × 10-19-7.3 × 10-15 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) pppy. In food-crop irrigation scenario, the annual infection risks and disease burdens of treated greywater from bathroom and laundry (2.8 × 10-8, 4.9 × 10-8 pppy; 2.3 × 10-12-4.2 × 10-12 DALYs pppy) were within the acceptable levels of U.S. EPA annual infection risk (≤10-4 pppy) and WHO disease burden (≤10-6 DALYs pppy) benchmarks, while kitchen greywater was not suitable for food-crop irrigation (4.9 × 10-6 pppy; 4.3 × 10-10 DALYs pppy) based on these benchmarks. The model uncertainties were discussed, which suggests that a more accurate risk estimation requires improvements on data collection and model refinement.

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