Wastewater Reuse

Wastewater is produced in huge volumes globally by domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural uses; this waste is very hazardous if not treated. Technology enables us to treat water and purify it to various quality levels by using a number of common methods. the number and quality of wastewater treatment and sewage purification plants in steadily on the rise and every year more wastewater is being treated and then reused. Wastewater reuse is a key part of the economic aspect of this important issue and it allows governments, water companies and consumers to save water and pay lower fees on water use.

The way by which wastewater is reused is determined by the purification level and treatment method – which are of course influenced by the required uses of the relevant consumers. But regardless of the reuse purpose of wastewater, they always must be treated and brought to a level when disposing of it won’t cause health and/or environment problems.

Agriculture irrigation

The main type of wastewater reuse is for agricultural needs; by far the agro sector is the largest consumer of treated wastewater in the world. Some developed countries where agriculture is both a key economic sector and is very technologically advanced treat almost all of their wastewater and then reuses is for irrigation – Israel is a leading example of this with around 85% of its wastewater treated and reused.

The system of wastewater reuse works on the basis of large scale wastewater and sewage plants that produce very good quality water – normally after tertiary treatment or advanced secondary biological treatment. This water is then transferred in special pipe systems for treated wastewater and then through irrigation systems onto crops in fields, greenhouses etc. Normally this type of wastewater reuse is build with a treatment plant for every area or even every farm for large scale and remote agriculture.

Common problems with agriculture wastewater reuse are mainly related to high levels of salts (minerals) in the water that can eventually cause land degradation. Cases were crops were infected with pathogens that were then transferred to human consumers are very rare.

Creating or improving wetlands and water habitats

Wastewater reuse can be used to create or to improve wetlands and other water habitats. A wetland can be created for touristic purposes, to improve the appearance of areas, restore damaged or untreated land etc. Wastewater reuse for flowing into existing wetland can help reverse environmental problems caused by different factors (normally man maid) and to protect special eco-systems.

Wetlands can also be part of a wastewater treatment plant – where the water reaches the wetland after primary treatment for the continued natural process of water purification using plants, fish and good bacteria.


A by product of wastewater treatment is large amounts of sludge; this can be treated further and then reused as fertilizer for agriculture – Thus saving on chemical fertilizers.

Industrial wastewater reuse

If the treated water is in good quality then wastewater reuse is possible for industrial purposes such as cooling systems and similar needs.

There are other wastewater reuse options, in general the treated water should be cheaper for the end consumer to purchase as oppose tp fresh drinking water.

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