Wastewater Use in Agriculture and Relevance of Micropollutants in North African Countries

  • Olfa Mahjoub
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 44)


Irrigation is the largest practice of water reuse worldwide. In North African countries, both formal and informal uses of wastewater were practiced for a long time thus exposing users and consumers to microbiological and chemical health risks. Negative environmental impacts are also of concern because secondary biological treatment is not effective in removing ubiquitous and persistent contaminants like some emerging micropollutants. Based on research findings during the last decades, the presence of micropollutants in reclaimed water has gained interest in developed countries, and the release of some of them into water bodies has been regulated. In North African countries, in view of the prevailing quality of reclaimed water and its current usage for growing crops, the occurrence of such contaminants has recently raised concern with an increasing number of research works and publications. However, it remains challenging to identify, quantify, and prioritize the most relevant to be regulated. This paper aims at shedding light on the usage of reclaimed water for irrigation in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia while pinpointing the potential sources of micropollutants in wastewater. It discusses the extent to which some micropollutants could be relevant and challenging to public health and environmental quality.


Agriculture Micropollutants North Africa Reuse Wastewater 



Biochemical oxygen demand


Chemical oxygen demand














Electrical conductivity




Food and Agriculture Organization






Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Polychlorinated biphenyls


Pharmaceuticals and personal care products


Total dissolved solids


United States Environmental Protection Agency


Water Framework Directive


World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research Institute for Rural Engineering, Water, and Forestry (INRGREF)ArianaTunisia

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