Indirect Potable Reuse: A Risk Assessment for Vendée Eau

One way of coping with water shortness is through reusing wastewater. In order to enhance potable water production in sites dealing with water shortness, treated wastewater can be fed into an intermediate storage system, generally a natural water reservoir from which drinking water is produced. This procedure is called indirect potable reuse. Although this technique may be an innovative way of coping with water shortness, little is known about the effect of this procedure concerning environmental and human health. In order to find more about the environmental and health human risks arising from indirect potable reuse technologies a risk assessment was carried over in the French Department of Vendée. This site deals with water shortness from May to October through a significantly enhanced water consumption in the coastal aera of this department caused by the increase of tourism activities and intensified crop irrigation. To achieve this task 35 different organic micropollutants, in its majority pesticides and pharmaceuticals were studied. Therefore, a risk assessment on water reuse technologies was performed at the site of concern. Furthermore, the impact of two tertiary treatments developed within the framework of the European DEMOWARE project on minimising arising risks was also taken into account. Results showed that 16 substances present a potential risk to the environment and/or to human health at the WWTP effluent. Similar results were achieved in fresh water, in this case 14 compounds have a risk quotient higher than 1 indicating a risk for both, health and environment. Furthermore, outcomes from the tertiary treatments risk characterisation showed that none of the studied tertiary techniques is cappable of reducing environmental and health risks for all substances to acceptable levels (RQ < 1). Same results were achieved for the risk characterisation in fresh water.

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