A state-of-the-art review of the human health risks associated with the reuse of wastewater effluent is presented. The subject is of much concern as the need for wastewater becomes more critical in the wake of worldwide shortages of good quality water.
The subject of wastewater reuse has been a controversial subject during the last few decades due to the fear of harmful effects on human health and the environment. But recent technology relating to wastewater treatment methods has changed the outlook significantly.
The article offers a broad review of the available data on wastewater treatment performance particularly relating to the removal of pathogenic agents. The areas specifically covered are: wastewater quality from various wastewater systems with respect to pathogens; available conventional and nonconventional wastewater treatment technologies; available laboratory methodologies for enumerating the pathogenic state of wastewater and their reliabilities; various methodologies of preuse disinfection of wastewater and their feasibility for practical use; and the pathogen survival rates in liquid water and various other media. The human health risks associated with wastewater reuse in agriculture are assessed at the present level of understanding and are discussed in detail. Areas that need further investigations are delineated.