Journal of Environmental Management 213(2018) 135e141
Agricultural reuse of municipal wastewater through an integral water reclamation management
aSub-Department of Environmental Technology (ETE), Wageningen University & Research, Droevendaalsesteeg 4, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlandsb Research Group on Quality, Safety and Bioactivity of Plant Foods, Department of Food Science and Technology, CEBAS-CSIC, Campus Universitario deEspinardo, 30100, Murcia,Spain
d Department of Irrigation, CEBAS-CSIC, Campus Universitario de Espinardo, 30100, Murcia, Spain
a r t i c l e i n f o
Received 30 July 2017 Received in revised form 19 December 2017
Accepted 2 February 2018
Available online 26 February 2018
Keywords: Reclaimed water Irrigation method Leafy greens
a b s t r a c t
The DESERT-prototype, a state-of-the-art compact combination of water treatment technologies based onﬁltrationandsolar-basedrenewableenergy,wasemployedtoreclaimwaterforagriculturalirrigation. Water reclaimed through the DESERT-prototype (PW) from a secondary efﬂuent of a wastewater treat-ment plant, as well as conventional irrigation water (CW) and the secondary efﬂuent (SW) itself, wereemployed to cultivate baby romaine lettuces in a greenhouse in Murcia (Spain), by means of drip andsprinkler irrigation methods, thus establishing six treatments. Assessments of physicochemical and microbiologicalqualityofirrigationwater,aswellasagronomicandmicrobiologicalqualityofcropsfrom all treatments, showed that results associated to PW complied in all cases with relevant standards and guidelines. In contrast, results linked to SW and CW presented certain non-compliance cases of waterand crop microbiological quality. These assessments lead to conclude that the DESERT-prototype is an appropriate technology for safe water reclamation oriented to agricultural production, that can be complemented by a proper irrigation method in reaching safetytargets.
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Waterscarcityisamainissuecurrentlyaffectingalargepartof the global population (Eslamian, 2016). Along with this reality, agriculture stands out as the economic sector with the highest water demands, representing about 70% of global freshwater withdrawalsworldwide(Eslamian,2016;TheWorldBankGroup,2016).Moreover,28%oftheglobalcroplandand56%oftheglobal irrigated cropland are located in areas under high (40e80%) or extremely high (>80%) water stress, based on the ratio of water withdrawaloveravailablewater(Gassertetal.,2013).Inthissense, waterreclaimedfrommunicipalwastewaterhasbecomeoneofthe major and less expensive non-conventional water sources for agriculture(Drechseletal.,2015;Eslamian,2016),whichis,with
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roughly 20 out of 200 million Ha of irrigated land worldwide (Jaramillo and Restrepo, 2017), the largest reclaimed water con- sumer (Lazarova et al., 2013), and one of the economic sectors in which its use shows its real beneﬁts (Younos and Parece, 2016).
of synthetic fertilizers (Lyu et al., 2016; Pedrero et al., 2013b; Vicente-Sa´nchezetal.,2014;Vivaldietal.,2015),higheryieldsthan freshwater-irrigated counterparts (Vergine et al., 2016; Vivaldietal.,2015),amongstothers.Contrariwise,waterreclamation
mismanagement may also arise negative impacts for both the environment and human health (Eslamian, 2016; Lazarova et al.,2013).Probablythemostrecognizedandcharacterizedconcernis the presence of pathogens that may enter the food chain(Castro-Iba´n~ezetal.,2015;Lo´pez-Ga´lvezetal.,2016b).Furthermore, cropsandsoilsmaybeaffectedduetoincreasingsalinity(Jime´nezandAsano,2008;Pedreroetal.,2010),phytotoxicelementscan
136J.C. Intriago et al. / Journal of Environmental Management213 (2018) 135e141
affectgrowthofcropsreducingyields(Parsonsetal.,2010;Pedrero,2010), and the structure of soils may result damaged due to high sodicitylevels(Jime´nezandAsano,2008;Pedrero,2010).
There are several studies focused on the effects of different reclaimedwatersourcesovertreecrops(Nicola´setal.,2016; Pedreroetal.,2013a,2013b;PedreroandAlarco´n,2009;Vivaldiet al., 2015), as well as horticultural crops (Cirelli et al., 2012; Hoqueetal.,2010;Lo´pez-Ga´lvezetal.,2016b,2014).Fromthe latter,healthrisksassociatedtotheintakeofraw-eatenleafygreens irrigated with reclaimed water, such as lettuces, take particular attention(Castro-Iba´n~ezetal.,2015;Ceuppensetal.,2015; Makkaew et al., 2016; Sales-Ortells et al., 2015). In this respect, several studies highlight the relevance of irrigation methods in reducinghealthrisks(Lo´pez-G´alvezetal.,2016b;Qadiretal.,2010; Uyttendaele et al., 2015). Irrigation methods are one of the most relevant interventions within the World Health Organization (WHO) ‘multiple-barrier approach’, which offers, besides waste- water treatment, strategies at key points that aims to a safe agri- cultural production, avoiding recontamination and cross- contamination within the farm-to-fork cycle (Al-Baz et al., 2008; Drechsel et al., 2015