Do the Australian guidelines for water recycling protect small or remote communities?

Do the Australian guidelines for water recycling protect small or remote communities? Journal Article

Water

  • Author(s): Barker, S.F., Packer, M., Scales, P.J., Gray, S., Snape, I., Hamilton, A.J.
  • Published: 2013
  • Volume: 40

Abstract: While there are as yet no direct drinking water reuse projects in Australia, there are many valuable aspects of such systems that may be particularly useful in small communities. The Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling – Augmentation of Drinking Water Supplies report a 9.5 log10 reduction value (LRV) of enteric viruses for direct drinking water reuse, based on virus concentrations from a large municipal sewage treatment plant. Small or remote communities, which are not specifically discussed in the Guidelines, are unique in both the high degree of interaction between community members and the resulting increased risk of disease transmission. For this reason, a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) was conducted to determine the level of treatment required to meet the tolerable annual disease burden of 10-6 DALYs per person per year for a small community, using Davis Station in Antarctica as a case study. Two estimates of sewage concentration were considered: 1) average sewage, assuming that sewage quality was similar to published norovirus values; and 2) outbreak sewage, an estimate of peak pathogen loads during an outbreak of norovirus on station. The estimate LRV for average sewage was 7.0 while for the outbreak scenario it was 12.2. This higher treatment requirement was predominantly attributed to the significantly higher estimate of sewage concentration during a community outbreak. An investigation of the impact of population size showed that the higher LRVs were estimated for the smaller population sizes. It is concluded that safe implementation of direct drinking water reuse in small or remote communities needs to carefully consider the impact of outbreak conditions and will almost certainly require additional treatment barriers to achieve regulatory compliance.

Notes: URL links to whole volume - scroll to pg 85 (requires membership access)

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Suggested Citation
Barker, S.F., Packer, M., Scales, P.J., Gray, S., Snape, I., Hamilton, A.J., 2013, Do the Australian guidelines for water recycling protect small or remote communities?, Volume:40, Journal Article, viewed 18 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3696.

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