Impact of treatment plant management on human health and ecological risks from wastewater irrigation in developing countries–case studies from Cochabamba, Bolivia
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2021

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 log10 DALY person−1 year−1 and to 2 log10 kg nitrogen ha−1 accumulated in soil, respectively.

small-scale WWTPs

operation and maintenance

quantitative microbial risk assessment

Wastewater irrigation

ecological risks


Claudia Cossio Grageda

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Vatten Miljö Teknik

Universidad Mayor de San Simón

Luis Fernando Perez-Mercado

Universidad Mayor de San Simón

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)

Jenny Norrman

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Geologi och geoteknik

Sahar Dalahmeh

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)

Björn Vinnerås

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)

Alvaro Mercado

Universidad Mayor de San Simón

Jennifer R Mc Conville

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)

International Journal of Environmental Health Research

0960-3123 (ISSN) 1369-1619 (eISSN)

Vol. 31 4 355-373


Miljö- och naturvårdsvetenskap







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