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Forskningsartikel2021Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

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


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.


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

Publicerad i

International Journal of Environmental Health Research
2021, Volym: 31, nummer: 4, sidor: 355-373