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Water Res. 2012 Sep 1;46(13):4301-13. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 May 17.

Microbial quality assessment of household greywater.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, 99 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3004, Australia.


A monitoring program was undertaken to assess the microbial quality of greywater collected from 93 typical households in Melbourne, Australia. A total of 185 samples, comprising 75 washing machine wash, 74 washing machine rinse and 36 bathroom samples were analysed for the faecal indicator Escherichia coli. Of these, 104 were also analysed for genetic markers of pathogenic E coli and 111 for norovirus (genogroups GI and GII), enterovirus and rotavirus using RT-PCR. Enteric viruses were detected in 20 out of the 111 (18%) samples comprising 16 washing machine wash water and 4 bathroom samples. Eight (7%) samples were positive for enterovirus, twelve (11%) for norovirus genogroup GI, one (1%) for norovirus genogroup GII and another (1%) for rotavirus. Two washing machine samples contained more than one virus. Typical pathogenic E. coli were detected in 3 out of 104 (3%) samples and atypical enteropathogenic E. coli in 11 (11%) of samples. Levels of indicator E. coli were highly variable and the presence of E. coli was not associated with the presence of human enteric viruses in greywater. There was also little correlation between reported gastrointestinal illness in households and detection of pathogens in greywater.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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