IWA Publishing

Risk assessment of treated municipal wastewater reuse in Sicily


In Italy, the restrictive approach for treated wastewater reuse in agriculture has led to some difficulties in promoting this practice. In order to assess the health risk associated with the use of wastewater in agriculture, an experiment was conducted in an open field near the constructed wetland (CW) system of San Michele di Ganzaria (Eastern Sicily), during the irrigation seasons 2004–2009. In particular the impact on tomato crops of drip and sub-drip irrigation with treated municipal wastewater, as well as effects of wastewater reuse on the irrigation system, main production features, hydrological soil behaviour, and microbial soil and products contamination were investigated. Notwithstanding the fact that globally CW effluents did not match microbiological standards for wastewater reuse of Italian legislation, the median infection risk (function of the recommended tolerable additional disease burden of 10−6 DALY (disability-adjusted life year) loss per person per year) suggested by the 2006 World Health Organization Guidelines for rotavirus, Campylobacter and Cryptosporidium for lettuce irrigation under unrestricted irrigation scenario was achieved.

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