The Mediterranean seaside resort of Le Grau du Roi includes 40 hectares of landscaped areas spray irrigated with river water supplied through a separate network. Wastewater collected from several municipalities is treated in an activated sludge wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and polished in waste stabilization ponds (WSPs). Planned substitution of treated wastewater for river water is hindered by spray irrigation prohibition within a 100 m distance from houses and recreational areas. WWTP and WSP effluents were monitored for pathogens with a particular attention to Legionella in Spring and Summer 2006. Helminth eggs, salmonellae and enteroviruses were never detected neither in WWTP effluent nor in the ponds. Legionella spp content was slightly higher or of the order of magnitude of river water contents. Regarding Legionella pneumophila contents, WSP effluent did not significantly differ from the river water. E.coli and enterococci contents in WSP effluents complied with the “excellent quality” criteria of the European Directive for coastal bathing waters. Therefore, substituting WSP effluents to river water is unlikely to alter health risks related to spray irrigation and, in this case, the buffer zone required by the French water reuse guidelines appears being short of support.

You do not currently have access to this content.