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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Impact of treatment plant management on human health and ecological risks from wastewater irrigation in developing countries - case studies from Cochabamba, Bolivia

Cossio, Claudia; Perez-Mercado, Luis Fernando; Norrman, Jenny; Dalahmeh, Sahar; Vinneras, Bjorn; Mercado, Alvaro; McConville, Jennifer

Abstract

Wastewater irrigation is a common practice in developing countries due to water scarcity and increasing demand for food production. However, there are health risks and ecological risks associated with this practice. Small-scale wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) intend to decrease these risks but still face management challenges. This study assessed how the management status of five small-scale WWTPs in Cochabamba, Bolivia affects health risks associated with consumption of lettuce and ecological risks due to the accumulation of nutrients in the soil for lettuce and maize crops. Risk simulations for three wastewater irrigation scenarios were: raw wastewater, actual effluent and expected effluent. Results showed that weak O&M practices can increase risk outcomes to higher levels than irrigating with raw wastewater. Improving O&M to achieve optimal functioning of small-scale WWTPs can reduce human health risks and ecological risks up to 2 log(10) DALY person(-1) year(-1) and to 2 log(10) kg nitrogen ha(-1) accumulated in soil, respectively.

Keywords

Wastewater irrigation; small-scale WWTPs; operation and maintenance; quantitative microbial risk assessment; ecological risks

Published in

International Journal of Environmental Health Research
2021, volume: 31, number: 4, pages: 355-373
Publisher: TAYLOR AND FRANCIS LTD

Authors' information

Cossio, Claudia
Chalmers University of Technology
Perez Mercado, Luis Fernando
University of San Simón (UMSS)
Perez Mercado, Luis Fernando
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Norrman, Jenny
Chalmers University of Technology
Dalahmeh, Sahar
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Mercado, Alvaro
Univ Mayor San Simon
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water
SDG3 Good health and wellbeing
SDG17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

UKÄ Subject classification

Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09603123.2019.1657075

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/101688