Microbial risk from rainwater tanks in South East Queensland

Ahmed, Warish, Vieritz, Alison, Gardner, Ted, & Goonetilleke, Ashantha (2009) Microbial risk from rainwater tanks in South East Queensland. Water : Official Journal of the Australian Water and Wastewater Association, 36(8), pp. 80-85.

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Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) analysis was used to quantify the risk of infection associated with the exposure to pathogens from potable and non-potable uses of roof-harvested rainwater in South East Queensland (SEQ). A total of 84 rainwater samples were analysed for the presence of faecal indicators (using culture based methods) and zoonotic bacterial and protozoan pathogens using binary and quantitative PCR (qPCR). The concentrations of Salmonella invA, and Giardia lamblia β-giradin genes ranged from 65-380 genomic units/1000 mL and 9-57 genomic units/1000 mL of water, respectively. After converting gene copies to cell/cyst number, the risk of infection from G. lamblia and Salmonella spp. associated with the use of rainwater for bi-weekly garden hosing was calculated to be below the threshold value of 1 extra infection per 10,000 persons per year. However, the estimated risk of infection from drinking the rainwater daily was 44-250 (for G. lamblia) and 85-520 (for Salmonella spp.) infections per 10,000 persons per year. Since this health risk seems higher than that expected from the reported incidences of gastroenteritis, the assumptions used to estimate these infection risks are critically discussed. Nevertheless, it would seem prudent to disinfect rainwater for potable use.

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ID Code: 29862
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Microbial risk, Rainwater harvesting, Roofwater harvesting, Water quality, Rainwater reuse
ISSN: 0310-0367
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Engineering Modelling (090702)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Natural Resource Management (050209)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 the authors.
Deposited On: 21 Jan 2010 04:03
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:07

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