Characterization of segregated greywater from Indian households: part A—physico-chemical and microbial parameters

Abstract

Greywater has attracted global attention as a feasible alternative water source over the last few decades. Reuse and recycling of greywater is an economically viable and attractive option for meeting the future water demand. However, its treatment and reliable reuse continue to be based on conventional parameters such as BOD, COD, turbidity, suspended solids and pathogen level. The current investigative study focused on the characterization of segregated grey wastewater (greywater from bathroom, laundry and kitchen) from different economic classes of Indian households which included physical and chemical parameters, organics, nutrients, pathogens, heavy metals, oil and grease and surfactants. Apart from this, the data related to water consumption, frequency and products used for their daily activities were gathered using a questionnaire survey. The average water consumption among different household was found to be 108 L per capita per day. The maximum concentrations of organics such as BOD (678.6 ± 179 mg/L), COD (1507 ± 508 mg/L) and TOC (176.4 ± 131 mg/L) were found in kitchen wastewater. However, maximum concentrations of surfactants (14.02 ± 3.74 mg/L) were obtained in laundry wastewater. Faecal coliform concentration was more in the households which had inhabitants of children below 4 years. Statistical analysis revealed that the parameters monitored differ significantly between different economic classes. The present study showed that the characteristics of greywater highly depend on the wastewater source, household behaviour and activities. This study will be helpful to design a sustainable cost-effective treatment system, enabling greywater generated from different sources to be safely recycled and reused by households.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the inhabitants of households for their ready support during sampling and survey.

Funding

The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Ministry of Department of Science and Technology (DST, Government of India, GoI), through the research projects DST/TM/INDO-UK/2K17/66, DST/TN/WTI/WIC/2K17/82, and Indo German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) (DST/CCP/CoE/141/2018(G) for funding this research activity through Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.

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Correspondence to Ligy Philip.

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Highlights

• Greywater from different sources and socioeconomic classes were characterized.

• Activities of households were mapped using inventory analysis.

• Average water consumption among different households was 108 Lpcd.

• Statistical analysis revealed that parameters monitored differ significantly between economic classes.

• Characteristics of greywater depend upon source, household behaviour and socio-economic background.

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Delhiraja, K., Philip, L. Characterization of segregated greywater from Indian households: part A—physico-chemical and microbial parameters. Environ Monit Assess 192, 428 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-020-08369-0

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Keywords

  • Segregated household greywater
  • Water consumption
  • Physical and chemical contaminants
  • Surfactants
  • Water recycle and reuse