Parameters affecting greywater quality and its safety for reuse

Adi Maimon, Eran Friedler, Amit Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reusing greywater (GW) for on-site irrigation is becoming a common practice worldwide. Alongside its benefits, GW reuse might pose health and environmental risks. The current study assesses the risks associated with on-site GW reuse and the main factors affecting them. GW from 34 households in Israel was analyzed for physicochemical parameters, Escherichia coli (as an indicator for rotavirus), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Each participating household filled out a questionnaire about their GW sources, treatment and usages. Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) was performed based on the measured microbial quality, and on exposure scenarios derived from the questionnaires and literature data. The type of treatment was found to have a significant effect on the quality of the treated GW. The average E. coli counts in GW (which exclude kitchen effluent) treated by professionally-designed system resulted in acceptable risk under all exposure scenarios while the risk from inadequately-treated GW was above the accepted level as set by the WHO. In conclusion, safe GW reuse requires a suitable and well-designed treatment system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2014


  • Garden irrigation
  • Greywater
  • Microbial quality
  • Onsite reuse
  • QMRA
  • Risk assessment

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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