WATER REUSE FOR FOOD PRODUCTION IN THE WEST BANK AND ISRAEL: ASSESSING THE EFFICACY OF HOUSEHOLD GREYWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS, AND CONSUMER PERCEPTIONS OF REUSE APPLICATIONS
Craddock, Hillary Anne
Sapkota, Amy R
MetadataShow full item record
Greywater is increasingly reused for agricultural irrigation in the Middle East. However, there is a dearth of data regarding antibiotics, herbicides, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in household greywater reuse systems. Additionally, there are minimal data assessing consumer perceptions of water reuse practices. To address these gaps, my dissertation aims were to: 1) evaluate the presence of antibiotics and herbicides in greywater and treated effluent; 2) assess the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in greywater and treated effluent; and 3) explore consumer perceptions of water reuse practices in Israel and the West Bank. For Aims 1 and 2, household greywater (n=23), treated effluent (n=23) and pond water (n=12) were collected from four farms in the West Bank from October 2017 to June 2018. The presence of antibiotics and herbicides was quantified using high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, E. coli were enumerated via membrane filtration, and isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility using microbroth dilution. For Aim 3, surveys (n=236) were administered in Eilat, Israel and Bethlehem, West Bank. Statistical analysis included ANOVA, chi-squared, and Fisher’s exact tests. Multiple antibiotics and herbicides were detected in greywater influent. Removal during treatment was variable across compounds. The majority of influent (76.5%) and effluent (70.6%) samples had detectable levels of E. coli. Resistance was most commonly observed against ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, and cefazolin. Regarding consumer perceptions, >50% of Israeli respondents were willing to serve raw and cooked produce irrigated with reused water. Palestinian respondents were more willing to engage in high-contact uses than Israeli respondents. The successful completion of this research has advanced knowledge regarding 1) the persistence of chemical and microbiological contaminants in treated household greywater that is used for food crop irrigation; and 2) consumer acceptance of water reuse practices. Farmers in the West Bank and around the world are combating decreasing quality and quantity of water and will increasingly rely on consumers willing to purchase produce irrigated with treated wastewater. Future work must ensure that farmers have access to safe and abundant irrigation water, and that consumers can be confident that they are purchasing safe food.