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Hygiene Aspects of Greywater and Greywater Reuse

by Ottosson, Jakob

Abstract (Summary)
Greywater is domestic household wastewater without inputfrom the toilet, i.e. wastewater from sinks, the shower,washing machine and dishwasher in a home. Source separation ofgreywater can be a strategy to enhance recirculation of plantnutrients and/or improve water use. The risk for transmissionof disease when reusing greywater is largely dependent on thecross-contamination by faeces. High levels of faecalindicators, mainly thermotolerant coliform bacteria, have beenreported in greywater, indicating substantial faecal pollution.However, growth of indicator bacteria within the system leadsto an overestimation of thefaecal input and thus the hygienerisk. The faecal input of the greywater in Vibyåsen,Sollentuna, North of Stockholm, was estimated to be 0.04 ±0.02 g faeces person-1 day-1 from the quantification of thefaecal sterol coprostanol, compared to 65 g, 5.2 g and 0.22 gp-1 d-1 using E. coli, enterococci and cholesterolrespectively.Prevalence of pathogens in the population and the faecalload based on coprostanol concentrations were used to form thebasis of a screening-level quantitative microbial riskassessment (QMRA) that was undertaken for rotavirus, Salmonellatyphimurium, Campylobacter jejuni, Giardia intestinalis andCryptosporidium parvum, looking at the treatment required to bebelow an acceptable level of risk (10-3) for reuse or dischargeof the greywater. The different exposure scenarios simulated?groundwater recharge, direct contact, irrigation andrecreational water?showed that a reduction of 0.7?3.7 log was needed for rotavirus, with the measured level offaecal load in Vibyåsen. The other pathogen of concern wasCampylobacter, where a 2.2 log reduction was needed forgroundwater recharge. The infectious dose of Salmonella is highand the excretion numbers of Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidiumoocysts low, resulting in no treatment requirements for theseorganisms under these circumstances. Pathogen input fromcontaminated food via the kitchen sink had a minor effect onthe microbiological quality of the greywater. Studies on virusoccurrence in greywater as well as validation of the faecalload of greywater at another site would give valuable input forfuture QMRAs.Greywater treatment efficiency studies, especially on virusremoval, are scarce and more investigations are warranted.Active sludge may not be a suitable technique for greywater dueto the low carbon content in this flow. Chemical precipitationhas the advantage of removing phosphorus as well as virusesefficiently and it is suggested as one possible method fortreating greywater. Otherwise the most common practice forgreywater treatment in Sweden is soil infiltration. However, itis suggested that the recommendations for wastewaterinfiltration also be observed for greywater, despite the lowfaecal load, due to the simulated results on virus reductionneeded.Key words:greywater, greywater reuse, greywatertreatment, microbial risk assessment, groundwater recharge,irrigation, recreational water, faecal contamination, indicatorbacteria, index organisms, faecal sterols, bacteriophages,enteric pathogens, rotavirus, Salmonella, Campylobacter,Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Legionella
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:greywater; greywater reuse; greywater treatment; microbial risk assessment; groundwater recharge; irrigation; recreational water; faecal contamination; indicator bacteria; index organisms; faecal sterols; bacteriophages; enteric pathogens; rotavirus,

ISBN:91-7283-436-6

Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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