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A monitoring of environmental effects from household greywater reuse for garden irrigation

Abstract

The option of reusing greywater is proving to be increasingly attractive to address the water shortage issue in many arid and semiarid countries. Greywater represents a constant resource, since an approximately constant amount of greywater is generated from kitchen, laundries, bathroom in every household daily, independent of the weather. However, the use of greywater for irrigation in particular for household gardening may pose major hazards that have not been studied thoroughly. In this study, a 1-year monitoring was conducted in four selected households in Perth, Western Australia. The aim of the monitoring works is to investigate the variability in the greywater flow and quality, and to understand its impact in the surrounding environments. Case studies were selected based on different family structure including number, ages of the occupants, and greywater system they used. Samples of greywater effluent (showers, laundries, bathtub, and sinks), leachate, soil, and plants at each case study were collected between October 2008 and December 2009 which covered the high (spring/summer) and low (autumn/winter) production of greywater. Physical and chemical tests were based on the literature and expected components of laundry and bathroom greywater particularly on greywater components likely to have detrimental impacts on soils, plants, and other water bodies. Monitoring results showed the greywater quality values for BOD, TSS, and pH which sometimes fell outside the range as stipulated in the guidelines. The soil analyses results showed that salinity, SAR, and the organic content of the soil increased as a function of time and affected the plant growth. Nutrient leaching or losses from soil irrigated with greywater shows the movement of nutrients and the sole impact from greywater in uncontrolled plots in case studies is difficult to predicted due to the influence of land dynamics and activities. Investigative and research monitoring was used to understand greywater irrigation in households. Greywater quality is very site specific and difficult to predetermine or control except for the use of some recommended household products when using greywater. Investigative and research monitoring was indicated that greywater quality is very site specific and difficult to predetermine or control except for the use of some recommended household products when using greywater.

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Correspondence to Radin Maya Saphira Radin Mohamed.

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Mohamed, R.M.S.R., Kassim, A.H.M., Anda, M. et al. A monitoring of environmental effects from household greywater reuse for garden irrigation. Environ Monit Assess 185, 8473–8488 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-013-3189-0

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Keywords

  • Greywater
  • Soil
  • Plant
  • Leachate
  • Nutrient
  • Leaching