With water scarcity as a pressing issue in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, the treatment and reuse of municipal wastewater is increasingly being used as an alternative water source to supplement country water needs. Standards are in place to ensure a safe treated wastewater quality, however they do not regulate pathogenic bacteria and emerging contaminants. Information is lacking on the levels of risk to public health associated with these factors, the efficiency of conventional treatment strategies in removing them, and on wastewater treatment in Saudi Arabia in general. In this study, a municipal wastewater treatment plant in Saudi Arabia is investigated to assess the efficiency of conventional treatment in meeting regulations and removing pathogens and emerging contaminants. The study found pathogenic bacterial genera, antibiotic resistance genes and antibiotic resistant bacteria, many of which were multi-resistant in plant discharges. It was found that although the treatments are able to meet traditional quality guidelines, there remains a risk from the discussed contaminants with wastewater reuse. A deeper understanding of this risk, and suggestions for more thorough guidelines and monitoring are needed.
|Date made available
|KAUST Research Repository