Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse

Mark D. Sobsey
ENVR 890-2
Spring 2009
Wastewater Reuse: An Attractive Option for
Improved Water Resources Management
• Why do THIS?
• When you can do THIS INSTEAD?
• ……Potable use?
• Other non-potable uses
• Industrial cooling
• Irrigation
• Beneficial reuse for:
• Further treat, then…
Direct/Directed Potable Reuse
• Singapore, Malta, Israel and Namibia now
augment their source drinking water (10-
20 %) with reclaimed wastewater
WHO Agricultural Reuse of
Wastewater and Excreta
• WHO Guidelines focus on agricultural and
aquacultural reuse of wastewater
• Promote beneficial use
• Health risk-based
• Considers different exposure groups
– Workers (farmers)
– Children
– Neighbors
– Consumers
• Employs epidemiological and microbial data for
diarrheal disease and ascariasis health risk
estimates
Health Risk Contaminants of
Reclaimed Water
• Microbiological quality: pathogens
• Total mineral content (e.g., TDS)
• Heavy metal toxicants
• Toxic/biologically active organic compounds
– Disinfection by-products
– Pharmaceutically active compounds
• Antibiotics
• Estrogens
• Psychotropic compounds
• Caffeine
• Etc.
Health Risks and Benefits of
Wastewater and Excreta Reuse
Direct Health Effects
• Waterborne disease outbreaks; hyperendemic disease
• Contributes to background disease rates from helminths
and other pathogens
Indirect Health Effects
• Impacts on water safety for drinking recreation, food
preparation
• Positive impacts on household food security
Driving Forces
• Water Scarcity
• Wastewater as a Resource
• Population growth, urbanization
WHO Health Risk-Based Approach
• Establish tolerable (acceptable) risk
• Zero is not achievable in the real world)
• A national to local concern
• WHO anchors risk level in its international guidelines
• Accepted point of reference for carcinogens in
drinking water: 1/100,000 lifetime excess risk of
cancer
• US EPA 1/10000 risk of infection (Giardia)
• DALYs: 10
-6
DALYS per person per year (WHO)
• Considers beneficial use; attempts to make norms
not overly stringent
Summary of Health Risks Associated with the Use of
Wastewater in Irrigation
Risk Management Points for
Agricultural Reuse
Human Exposure Control for WW
Agricultural Irrigation
Four groups of people are at potential risk:
• Agricultural field workers and their families
• Crop handlers
• Consumers (of crops, meat and milk)
• Those living near the affected fields
Human Exposure Control for WW Agricultural Irrigation
• Agricultural field workers are at high risk of parasitic infections.
• Exposure to hookworm infection can be reduced, even eliminated,
by the use of less contaminating irrigation methods and by the use
of appropriate protective clothing (i.e. shoes for field workers and
gloves for crop handlers).
• A rigorous health education program that targets consumers, farm
workers, produce handlers and vendors is needed.
• Handwashing with soap is an important behavior that needs to be
emphasized.
– Handwashing with soap reduces diarrheal disease transmission
by 30-40%
• Field workers should be provided with adequate sanitation facilities
and safe water for drinking and hygiene purposes to avoid the
consumption of, and contact with, wastewater.
Human Exposure Control for WW Agricultural Irrigation
• Sanitation facilities and safe water should be
provided at markets for washing and ‘‘freshening’’
produce.
– Vendors need to practice good personal and food
hygiene.
• Consumers can cook vegetables, meat and milk, and
practice good personal and domestic hygiene to
protect their health.
• Meat should be inspected and carcasses infected
with tapeworm larvae should be rejected

Steps in Agricultural WW Reuse Management:
Waste Treatment to Remove or Inactivation of Pathogens
• Conventional wastewater treatment options (primary and
secondary treatments) are effective at
removing/inactivating pathogens
• These processes may be difficult and costly to operate
properly in developing world situations.
• Waste stabilization ponds (WSP), properly designed and
operated properly, are effective at reducing pathogens
– They can be operated at low cost where inexpensive land is
available
• A series of shallow ponds linked together maximizes
retention time
• WSPs should be designed, operated and maintained in
such a way as to prevent disease vectors from breeding
in the ponds.
Steps in Agricultural WW Reuse Management:
Crop Restriction
• Water of poorer quality can be used to irrigate:
– Non-vegetable crops such as cotton
– Crops that will be cooked before consumption (e.g. potatoes)
• Crop restriction may protect the health of consumers but
not farm workers and their families.
• Crop restriction is not an adequate single control
measure
• It should be considered within an integrated system of
control
• In Chile the use of crop restriction when implemented
with a general hygiene education program significantly
reduced the transmission of cholera from the
consumption of raw vegetables
• It has also been used effectively in Mexico and Peru
Steps in Agricultural WW Reuse Management
Irrigation Techniques
• Aerosols from spray/sprinkler irrigation have high potential to spread
contamination on crop surfaces and affect nearby communities.
• Where WW spray/sprinkler irrigation is used, buffer zones (e.g. 50–100m from
houses/roads) are recommended to prevent health risks to local communities
• Farm workers/families are at highest risk when flood or furrow irrigation
techniques are used
– Especially when protective clothing is not worn and earth is moved by
hand.
• Localized irrigation techniques (e.g. bubbler, drip, trickle irrigators) offer farm
workers good health protection because WW is applied directly to the plants
– Can be problematical if WW has suspended solids that clogs water
emitters.
• Drip irrigation also improves crop yields and reduces water use.
• Cessation of irrigation for 1–2 weeks prior to harvest can be effective in
reducing crop contamination.
• Many vegetables need watering nearly until harvest to increase market value
– This option may be possible with some fodder crops that do not have to
be harvested at the peak of their freshness.
Steps in Agricultural WW Reuse Management
Chemotherapy and Vaccination
• Anti-helminthic treatment and immunization are not
considered an adequate strategy to protect farm workers
and their families.
• Immunization against helminthic infections and most
diarrheal diseases is currently not feasible.
• For highly exposed groups or sensitive subpopulations
(e.g. tourists), immunization against typhoid and hepatitis
A may be worth considering.
• Anti-helminthic treatment of intense nematode infections
in children and the control of anemia in both children and
adults, especially women and post-menarche girls, is
important.
• Treatments must be reapplied at regular intervals to be
effective—several times a year for children living in
endemic areas
Indicator Microbe Reductions by Conventional
Sewage Rx: Log
10
Reduction Efficacy
1
10
100
1000
10000
100000
1000000
10000000
100000000
1
10
100
1000
10000
100000
1000000
10000000
100000000
F. col. E. coli Ent. C. p. F+ phg.
N
u
m
b
e
r
/
1
0
0

m
l

Raw
Treated (geom. mean values of 24 biweekly samples)
Approx. Log
10
Reductions: 5 5 4.5 2 2.5
Health Risk Basis of California
Water Reclamation Program
• Initially, treatment performance-based on reducing viruses by 5 log
10
– Specific treatment requirements: coagulate-floculate/filter/disinfect
conventionally treated wastewater
– Effluent microbial quality
• Later, health risk-based, but still targeting viruses
• U.S. EPA Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR) (1989) defines
acceptable risk as ≤1 pathogen-derived infection/10,000 population/year
from public water supplies
• If a 10
-4
annual infection risk (≤1 infection/10,000 population/year) is set
as the acceptable risk for recycled water, reliability can be calculated as
the percent of time that infection risk due to exposure to enteric viruses
in recycled water is less than this acceptable level of annual risk
Limitations of the California Reuse System
• Preoccupied with viruses
• Protozoan parasites respond differently to
disinfection process than viruses
– Chlorine efficiently kills viruses and bacteria but is
much less effective against protozoan parasites
• UV radiation efficiently kills protozoan parasites
and bacteria but is much less effective against
enteric viruses
– Adenoviruses a worst case
– >140 mJ/cm
2
to inactivate 4 log
10
of adenoviruses
Dual disinfection effective against ALL pathogens overcomes this limitation
Risk from One-time Consumption of 100 ml from the
St. Petersburg, FL Reclamation Facility
(Rose et al., 1996) (assumed all microbes were viable and infectious; worst case)
Organism
Concentrations / 100L
Mean and Maximum
Estimated
Risks
Rotavirus
0.01 PFU 6 x 10
-6

0.13 PFU 8 x 10
-5

Echovirus 12
0.01 PFU 2 x 10
-8

0.13 PFU 3 x 10
-7

Cryptosporidium
0.75 oocyst 4 x 10
-6

5.35 oocysts 3 x 10
-5

Giardia
0.49 cyst 1 x 10
-5

3.3 cysts 7 x 10
-5

Estimated Risks of Virus Infection/Person/Year for Various Concentrations
of E. coli by Use of Untreated or Treated Wastewater in Irrigation
Concentrations of E. coli in WW may not correspond to those of viruses in WW.
(a) Risks are based on either consumption of irrigated raw vegetables (CV) or contact
with the wastewater during/after irrigation (WC)
(b) Total coliforms in chlorinated secondary effluent used for unrestricted crop irrigation
(c) Total coliforms in chlorinated tertiary effluent used for golf course irrigation
Management Strategies to Reduce
Health Risks from Agricultural Reuse
• Treatment of Wastes
• Crop Restriction
• Waste Application Methods
• Control of Human Exposure
WHO Revised Microbiological Guidelines for Treated WW use in Agriculture
Category | Reuse Conditions | Exposed | Irrigation | Nematodes | FC | WW Treatment
Management Strategies - Crop Restriction
Management Strategies - Waste Application
Management Strategies - Control of Human Exposure
WHO Estimates of Log
10
Pathogen Reduction by Control
Measures for Agricultural Reuse of Wastewater
• Wastewater treatment: 1-6
– Varies with degree of treatment
• Localized (drip) irrigation (low growing crops): 2
• Localized (drip) irrigation (high-growing crops): 4
• Spray drift control (spray irrigation): 1
• Spray buffer zone (spray irrigation): 1
• Pathogen die off: 0.5-2 per day
• Produce washing with water: 1
• Produce disinfection: 2
• Produce peeling: 2
• Produce cooking: 6-7
Existing Reclaimed Water Standards and
Guidelines - Non-Potable Reuse
• CA: < 2 TC/100 ml; specified multi-Rx steps
• US EPA:  200 FC/100 ml for less stringent uses
• WHO guidelines:  1000 or  10,000 FC for
unrestricted agricultural use
• State of NC wastewater reuse standards:
– Intermediate between extreme high level
standards of California and lower level guidelines
of US EPA and World Health Org.
– NC microbial requirement: geom. mean FC =
14/100 ml; single value max. = 25 per 100 ml)
– Proposed reg. would add log
10
microbe reduction
levels for bacteria (6) viruses (coliphages) (5) and
bacterial spores (C. perfringens) as protozoan
parasite indicator (4)


Indicator Microbe Concentration & Reductions by Conventional
Sewage Rx: Proposed Log
10
Reductions for NC Reclaimed Water
1
10
100
1000
10000
100000
1000000
10000000
100000000
1
10
100
1000
10000
100000
1000000
10000000
100000000
F. col. E. coli Ent. C. p. F+ phg.
N
u
m
b
e
r
/
1
0
0

m
l

Raw
Treated (geom. mean values of 24 biweekly samples)
Target Log
10
Reductions: Bacteria = 6 Parasites = 4 Viruses = 5