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Water Res. 2015 Apr 1;72:186-98. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2014.10.048. Epub 2014 Nov 12.

Health risk assessment of organic micropollutants in greywater for potable reuse.

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Laboratório de Tecnologia Mineral e Ambiental, Departamento de Engenharia de Minas, PPGE3M, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Bento Gonçalves 9500, 91501-970 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil; CAPES Foundation, Ministry of Education of Brazil, Brasília DF 70.040-020, Brazil. Electronic address:
Delft University of Technology, Department Water Management, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, The Netherlands; Waternet, Strategic Centre, Korte Ouderkerkerdijk 7, 1096 AC Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:


In light of the increasing interest in development of sustainable potable reuse systems, additional research is needed to elucidate the risks of producing drinking water from new raw water sources. This article investigates the presence and potential health risks of organic micropollutants in greywater, a potential new source for potable water production introduced in this work. An extensive literature survey reveals that almost 280 organic micropollutants have been detected in greywater. A three-tiered approach is applied for the preliminary health risk assessment of these chemicals. Benchmark values are derived from established drinking water standards for compounds grouped in Tier 1, from literature toxicological data for compounds in Tier 2, and from a Threshold of Toxicological Concern approach for compounds in Tier 3. A risk quotient is estimated by comparing the maximum concentration levels reported in greywater to the benchmark values. The results show that for the majority of compounds, risk quotient values were below 0.2, which suggests they would not pose appreciable concern to human health over a lifetime exposure to potable water. Fourteen compounds were identified with risk quotients above 0.2 which may warrant further investigation if greywater is used as a source for potable reuse. The present findings are helpful in prioritizing upcoming greywater quality monitoring and defining the goals of multiple barriers treatment in future water reclamation plants for potable water production.


Greywater; Organic micropollutants; Potable reuse; Risk assessment; Toxicological data

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