A study was performed to examine the effects of reclaimed-water irrigation on microorganism concentration in the ponded-water of paddy rice plots. Several treatments were used and each one was triplicated to evaluate the change of indicator microorganisms (total coliforms (TC), faecal coliforms (FC), and E. coli) concentrations in 2003 and 2004 growing seasons. Their concentrations increased significantly after irrigation, but decreased by approximately 45% in 24 h. It implies that agricultural activities such as ploughing and fertilising need to be practiced one or two days after irrigation, considering health risks. Treatments with UV-disinfected water irrigation, demonstrated significantly lower concentrations than others, including control plots where natural water was irrigated. The monitoring result from actual paddy rice fields and experimental paddy plots showed that concentrations of indicator microorganisms ranged from 102 to 105 MPN/100 mL. The field scale water reuse research project is in progress and national guidelines for reclaimed-water irrigation are under preparation in Korea. A comprehensive assessment of existing agricultural practices and a thorough monitoring in the fields as well as treatment plots are recommended to make national guidelines more representative.

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