Assuring water quality along multi-barrier treatment systems for agricultural water reuse
Based on three pilot- and demonstration-scale projects investigating agricultural irrigation practices with reclaimed water, risks associated with these water reuse practices are highlighted and processes and strategies to minimize associated microbial risks were evaluated. A number of treatment processes and combinations were tested regarding their efficacy for pathogen removal, representing the biggest threat to the quality of products from reuse irrigation practices. In addition, the importance of regrowth potential and different methods for monitoring risks associated with pathogens were discussed. One method for online monitoring is flow cytometry. The results of an exemplary quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) were discussed to determine the significance of microbial risks. Multi-barrier approaches comprised of technical and administrative barriers can reduce the risks of water reuse significantly. Quality management also needs to address all stakeholders involved in a reuse project, starting from source control in the sewershed to marketing of the final products. In addition, environmental risks of water reuse need to be addressed by quality management as well.