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Quantifying health risks in wastewater irrigation

By D.D. Mara


The guidelines developed by the World Health Organization for the safe use of wastewater in agriculture are based on a tolerable additional disease burden of 10-6 disability-adjusted life year loss per person per year, equivalent to rotavirus disease and infection risks of approximately 10-4 and 10-3 per person per year, respectively. The combination of standard quantitative microbial risk analysis\ud techniques and 10,000-trial Monte Carlo risk simulations, using ranges of parameter values that reflect\ud real life, are then used to determine the minimum required pathogen reductions for restricted and unrestricted irrigation which ensure that the risks are not exceeded. For unrestricted irrigation the required pathogen reduction is 6- 7 log10 units and for restricted irrigation 3- 4 log10 units. For both restricted and unrestricted irrigation wastewater treatment has to achieve a 3-4-log10 unit pathogen reduction, and in the case of unrestricted irrigation this has to be supplemented by a further 3-4-log10 unit pathogen reduction provided by post-treatment, but pre-ingestion, health protection control measures, such as pathogen die-off between the last irrigation and consumption (0.5- 2 log10 unit reduction per day, depending on ambient temperature) and produce washing in clean water (1 log10 unit reduction). Wastewaters used for both restricted and unrestricted irrigation also have to contain no more than 1 human intestinal nematode egg per liter; if children under the age of 15 are exposed then\ud additional measures are required such as regular deworming at home or at school

Publisher: EOLSS Publishers
Year: 2008
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