Drivers of microbial risk for direct potable reuse and de facto reuse treatment schemes: The impacts of source water quality and blending

Rabia M. Chaudhry, Kerry A. Hamilton, Charles N. Haas, Kara L. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Although reclaimed water for potable applications has many potential benefits, it poses concerns for chemical and microbial risks to consumers. We present a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) Monte Carlo framework to compare a de facto water reuse scenario (treated wastewater-impacted surface water) with four hypothetical Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) scenarios for Norovirus, Cryptosporidium, and Salmonella. Consumer microbial risks of surface source water quality (impacted by 0–100% treated wastewater effluent) were assessed. Additionally, we assessed risks for different blending ratios (0–100% surface water blended into advanced-treated DPR water) when source surface water consisted of 50% wastewater effluent. De facto reuse risks exceeded the yearly 10−4 infections risk benchmark while all modeled DPR risks were significantly lower. Contamination with 1% or more wastewater effluent in the source water, and blending 1% or more wastewater-impacted surface water into the advanced-treated DPR water drove the risk closer to the 10−4 benchmark. We demonstrate that de facto reuse by itself, or as an input into DPR, drives microbial risks more so than the advanced-treated DPR water. When applied using location-specific inputs, this framework can contribute to project design and public awareness campaigns to build legitimacy for DPR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number635
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 13 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Blending
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Direct potable reuse
  • Norovirus
  • Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA)
  • Reclaimed water
  • Salmonella

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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