Abstract, The Open Environmental Engineering Journal, 2011
Greywater (GW) is household wastewater effluent originating from baths, showers, kitchen and hand wash basins and laundry and constitutes 50-80% of indoor household water use. It represents water that can potentially be intercepted at the household level for use. In Kenya, GW use is practiced on an informal basis to supplement irrigation water, either in urban gardens in middle to upper income suburbs or in food gardens in lower income informal, periurban and rural areas. However, the reuse of greywater for irrigation without any significant pre-treatment poses a potential risk to both human and environmental health due to microbial and chemical contamination. This study investigated the potential of a low cost greywater treatment (GWT) system for safe greywater reuse by households. The system comprises of discrete units of barrels that allows for filtration, flocculation, sedimentation and disinfection. GWT system produced water with both pH and electrical conductivity suitable for irrigation according to WHO guidelines. It was also efficient at eliminating Salmonella sp. and reducing total coli form in composite greywater from households in Homa Bay after the effluent was disinfected with commercial disinfectant, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl). The cleaned greywater had a total coli form count (2.5x106 cfu/100 ml) comparable to 0–>2.4 106 cfu/100 ml obtained when greywater was treated using an expensive biological aerated filter (BAF). Fecal coli form counts (2.1 102 cfu/100 ml) compare well with 103 cfu/100 ml provided in WHO guidelines for public parks and crops likely to be eaten uncooked. The treatment had no effect on dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity and electrical conductivity. The study concludes that the GWT system can be a sustainable and promising low cost low technology treatment system that can be run and maintained by unskilled operators.