The trend towards reuse of effluent for land application of domestic and industrial wastewater is driven by the need to maximise limited water resources and benefit from the plant nutrients available in the effluent. Of significant impact upon the value of the wastewater for reuse is its chemical properties as well as biochemical oxygen demand and suspended solids. While the sewage treatment plant is expected to treat all wastewater received to a minimum environmental standard, no efforts are given to reducing the chemical load derived from uses of chemicals in the domestic household. That the regulation of industry and commerce far exceeds those of the combined effects of thousands of household is remiss of environmental regulators. This paper examines the results of research into the more common sources of chemical additives to the wastewater stream. Twenty five potable water supplies are examined for their salt load, 20 liquid and 40 powder laundry detergents and five dishwashing products were used to simulate discharges to the sewer, measured for their phosphorus, salt and sodium concentrations. The results of the research indicate that choices in the products available for general use within the house can be made only where product labelling and consumer education is improved. Technical improvements in wastewater treatment are not the answer. The improvement in effluent quality will have significant beneficial effects upon land application areas and expand the range of reuse options available for commercial operations.

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