Environmental Engineering Reference
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Income creation opportunities (often for lower-income groups).
Increased food production in proximity to markets and contribution to
food sovereignty.
Production of raw materials for renewable energy.
￿ '
of wastewater for a fraction of the cost of conventional
treatment facilities:
Land treatment
filtering out pollutants and thereby reducing the pol-
lution of open water bodies.
Groundwater recharge.
Source: WHO ( 2006b ); Raschid-Sally and Jayakody ( 2008 ); Simmons
et al. ( 2010 ); USEPA ( 2012 ); Mateo-Sagasta et al. ( 2013 ).
With the possibility to link different important topics, wastewater irrigation can
be seen as a prototype application of the nexus approach (Kurian and Ardakanian
2013 ; UNU-FLORES 2013 ).
Almost 100 years ago and in view of this great reuse potential,
first efforts were
made to manage the risks of wastewater irrigation by developing standards and
guidelines. The history of the development of such standards and guidelines is the
topic of Sect. 3 .
2 Wastewater Reuse Guidelines to Address Health
Attempts to de
ne quanti
able criteria for irrigation water quality go back to the
first standard for irrigation water quality from
1918 (for California) effectively prescribed the same quality for irrigation water as
for drinking water. 2 However, such strict guidelines were not feasible even in
highly developed countries (Havelaar et al. 2001 ; Fattal et al. 2004 ). Thus, the
standards had to be relaxed. Today, besides local and national standards, such as
those of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), there are
also international standards on irrigation water quality like those published by the
World Health Organization (WHO). They are of great relevance for many countries
that do not have national guidelines (Ensink 2006 ).
In 1973, the WHO published their
first half of the twentieth century. The
Health Guidelines for the Use of Wastewater
in Agriculture and Aquaculture
were developed in
the absence of good epidemiological studies and borrowed essentially a low-risk
approach from the USA
. These
first WHO guidelines
(Carr 2005 ). After a lengthy process involving several
teams of scientists from different institutions, the second edition of the guidelines
was released in 1989 (Fattal et al. 2004 ). Some of the (relaxed) microbiological
For wastewater used to irrigate vegetable crops eaten uncooked (Havelaar et al. 2001 ).
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