Quantitative Microbial Risk Analysis for Various Bacterial Exposure Scenarios Involving Greywater Reuse for Irrigation Academic Article uri icon


  • Greywater reuse can significantly reduce domestic water consumption. While the benefits are promising, risks are still under debate. Using a quantitative microbial risk-assessment model, we assessed the health risks associated with greywater reuse. The pathogens Salmonella enterica, Shigella spp., and Staphylococcus aureus were evaluated due to their possible prevalence in greywater and limited information regarding their potential risk with relation to greywater reuse for irrigation. Various exposure scenarios were investigated. Monte Carlo simulation was used and results were compared to the maximum “acceptable” limit of 10−6 disability-adjusted life years (DALY) set by the World Health Organization. Safe reuse was met for all worst-case exposure scenarios for Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica and Shigella spp. If their concentrations were kept below 10,000, 50 and 5 cfu/100 mL, respectively. For the best-practice (more realistic) scenarios, safe reuse was met for Staphylococcus aureus if its concentration was kept below 106 cfu/100 mL. Salmonella enterica met the safe reuse requirements if a maximum concentration of 500 cfu/100 mL was maintained and Shigella spp. if a maximum concentration was lower than 5 cfu/100 mL. Based on reported concentrations of these bacteria in greywater, proper treatment and disinfection are recommended.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018

published in