Safe on-Site Reuse of Greywater for Irrigation - A Critical Review of Current Guidelines Academic Article uri icon


  • Reuse of greywater for landscape irrigation can significantly reduce domestic water consumption. Alongside its benefits, there are potential drawbacks to greywater reuse, raising legitimate concerns about the impact on human and environmental health. In this review, a risk assessment framework is used to assess the adequacy of different regulations to ensure safe and long-lasting, onsite greywater reuse for irrigation. Existing regulations from around the world are assessed along with a standardized evaluation of measures taken to protect public and environmental health. In most cases, human health considerations currently dominate regulatory strategies, while environmental risks are either ignored or underrepresented. A distinction between single and multiple households was found to be a fundamental component of the regulations which often lead to approved utilization of untreated greywater among single households. We concluded that the use of untreated greywater is not recommended, especially in multihousehold systems as it may compromise public health, with single household systems posing more likely risks to the environment. Existing rules to control greywater use should be further revised toward the establishment of a more advanced regulatory system which can avert the salient potential risks associated with greywater reuse, while exploiting the enormous potential of this alternative water resource.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010