Evaluation of microbial health risks associated with the reuse of source-separated humna urine
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Human excreta contain plant nutrients and have the potentialto be used as a fertiliser in agriculture. Urine contributesthe major proportion of the nutrients (N, P and K) in domesticwastewater whereas faeces contribute a smaller amount andinvolves greater health risks if reused due to the possiblepresence of enteric pathogens. Human urine does not generallycontain pathogens that can be transmitted through theenvironment.
Source-separation of urine and faeces is possible by usingurine-separating (or urine-diverting) toilets, available assimple dry toilets or porcelain flush toilets with dividedbowls. The risk for transmission of disease when handling andreusing the urine is largely dependent on thecross-contamination by faeces. In this research, the presenceof human faeces in urine samples was successfully determined byanalysing for faecal sterols. Cross-contamination was evidentin 22% of the samples from urine collection tanks, and in thesequantified to an average (± SD) of 9.1 ± 5.6 mgfaeces per litre urine. Testing for indicator bacteria wasshown to be an unsuitable method for determining faecalcontamination in human urine sinceE. colihad a rapid inactivation in the urine and faecalstreptococci were found to grow within the system.
The fate of any enteric pathogens present in urine iscrucial for the risk for transmission of infectious diseases.Gram-negative bacteria (e.g.SalmonellaandE. coli) were rapidly inactivated (time for 90%reduction, T90<5 days) in source-separated urine at itsnatural pH-value of 9. Gram-positive faecal streptococci weremore persistent with a T90of approximately 30 days. Clostridia sporenumbers were not reduced at all during 80 days. Similarly,rhesusrotavirus andSalmonella typhimuriumphage 28B were not inactivated inurine at low temperature (5°C), whereas at 20°C theirT90-values were 35 and 71 days, respectively.Cryptosporidiumoocysts were less persistent with a T90of 29 days at 4°C. Factors that affect thepersistence of microorganisms in source-separated human urineinclude temperature, pH, dilution and presence of ammonia.
By using Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA), therisks for bacterial and protozoan infections related tohandling and reuse of urine were calculated to be<10-3for all exposure routes independent of the urinestorage time and temperature evaluated. The risk for viralinfection was higher, calculated at 0.56 for accidentalingestion of 1 ml of unstored urine. If the urine was stored at20°C for 6 months the risk for viral infection was reducedto 5.4 × 10-4.
By following recommendations for storage and reuse, whichare dependent on the type of crop to be fertilised, it ispossible to significantly decrease the risk for infections. Sofar, the level of risk that is acceptable is unknown. Theacceptable risk will be one of the main factors determining thefuture utilisation of source-separated human urine inagriculture.
Keywords:urine-separation, urine, wastewater systems,wastewater reuse, recycling, enteric pathogens, faecal sterols,indicator bacteria, hygiene risks, microbial persistence,microbial risk assessment, QMRA, fertiliser, crop.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Bioteknologi , 2001. , vii, 78 p.
urine-separation, urine, wastewater systems, wastewater reuse, recycling, enteric pathogens, faecal sterols, indicator bacteria, hygiene risks, microbial persistence, microbial risk assessment, QMRA, fertiliser, crop
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3090ISBN: 91-7283-039-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-3090DiVA: diva2:8844
NR 201408052001-02-142001-02-14Bibliographically approved