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Extended use of grey water for irrigating home gardens in an arid environment


The use of treated grey water (GW) for home gardens, peri-urban agriculture and landscaping is becoming popular in many water stressed countries such as Oman. This study aims to investigate the treatment efficacy, health and chemical concerns, cost-benefits and maintenance protocol of a GW treatment system as well as the effect of irrigation with GW on crop yield. Therefore, a decentralized homemade GW treatment system was installed in a newly constructed house in Muscat, Oman and studied over a 2-year period. The treated GW was found to be suitable for irrigation as per Omani standards. GW when mixed with kitchen effluent substituted the use of nutrient supplements for plants and did not show any harmful chemical or biological contamination. The capital cost of the system was around US $980, and the annual operating cost was US $78 with annual income and savings from the system being around US $572 indicating a payback period of nearly 2 years. It was found that the system required simple but regular maintenance particularly cleaning of the top layer of the filter. It can be concluded from this study that such a GW system should be technically, economically and environmentally feasible in Oman. Also, wider acceptance by the general public to the idea of GW reuse will help in mitigating the water shortage problem of the country to some extent.

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This research is funded through an internal research grant from the Centre for Environmental Studies and Research (IG/DVC/CESAR/12/01) at Sultan Qaboos University. This financial support is gratefully acknowledged. The assistance from Mrs. Leelwa Al-Hamadani and Mr. Ahmed Al-Meyahi in the chemical analysis and from Mr. Hood Al-Shaibani in the biological analysis is also appreciated.

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Correspondence to Abdulrahim M. Al-Ismaili.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Al-Ismaili, A.M., Ahmed, M., Al-Busaidi, A. et al. Extended use of grey water for irrigating home gardens in an arid environment. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 13650–13658 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-8963-z

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  • Grey water reuse
  • Decentralized
  • Homemade
  • Efficiency
  • Economy
  • Irrigation