Water reuse in EU states: Necessity for uniform criteria to mitigate human and environmental risks

N. V. Paranychianakis, M. Salgot, S. A. Snyder, A. N. Angelakis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

Water quality criteria are an indispensable part of water reuse projects aiming to ensure the protection of public health and the environment. In addition, criteria can affect the development, public acceptance, and economic viability of water reuse projects. Currently no uniform criteria exist, but they diverge, often greatly, between countries and states. The authors briefly present the evolution of reuse criteria worldwide and discuss emerging issues related to ecological and public health risks that have not addressed adequately in existing criteria. They specifically focus on European Union (EU) countries and present their water reuse status based on the published data and the existing (or nonexisting) reuse frameworks. Data gathered from public agencies reveal a high potential for water reuse in the EU that could potentially contribute to ensuring that fresh water is available for all sectors and to protect the environment, but it has not expanded at the expected rates. The lack of water reuse criteria was thought as the most important cause for this delay. lasting recent years, however, several countries, particularly those located in the Mediterranean basin, established water reuse criteria. Similarities and differences as well as potential benefits and drawbacks of these criteria are discussed and interpreted with these of the other world. An important conclusion is that the criteria enacted in Greece, Italy, and Spain will probably prevent the development of water reuse projects and increase the costs. Moreover, major challenges, the future views, and the necessity for establishing common regulations for water reuse at an EU level are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1409-1468
Number of pages60
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Volume45
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015

Keywords

  • effluent reuse
  • guidelines
  • health risks
  • recycled water
  • regulations
  • wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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