Potential health risks from gray water: What to know and avoid

April 24, 2012 |
Lynne Simnick

Collection and reuse of gray water/rainwater for toilet flushing, irrigation, and utility systems could replace 7% of drinking water production. This goal can be accomplished by capturing, treating, recharging, and maintaining all water flow from the building, thus minimizing ground-sourced and off-site sourced water.

Unfortunately, there are potential risks associated with water reuse and gray water that includes amplifying waterborne pathogens like Legionella. Data from testing reclaimed water has shown the presence of a number of potential pathogens including Legionella, Pseudomonas, Stenotrophomonas, and Klebsiella.

This topic will be explored at the Third International Emerging Technology Symposium by IAPMO and the World Plumbing Council. Potential sources and links to disease will be reviewed, as well as the waterborne pathogens that pose the greatest risk of infection from reclaimed water. A safe and sustainable water reuse program must address the potential public health implications of untreated reclaimed water. Control of microbial amplification in reclaimed water can be addressed through novel application of water treatment strategies.

The symposium will be held May 1-2 in Bethesda, Md. Other topics to be covered:

·       Research Paves Way for High-Performing Water-Saving Spray Valves

·       Potential Health Risks from Reclaimed Water: What to Know and Avoid

·       Measuring Sustainability – Credibility and Accountability

·       Technologies for Industrial/Municipal Water Reuse

For more information, visit:


NOTE:This information is the opinion of the author/blogger and not the official position of IAPMO.

Lynne Simnick | Codes and Standards

Lynne Simnick is the Director of Code Development for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and is responsible for the supervision and oversight of the creation and maintenance of all IAPMO codes and code supporting documents. Ms. Simnick has more than twenty-eight years experience in the plumbing industry including code development, education and training, plan review and evaluation services. Prior to joining IAPMO, Simnick worked as technical staff in engineering services, educator, inspector and plumber. She has a Bachelors of Science Degree in Education and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Simnick has authored many technical articles, participated in numerous standards committees with an expertise in code and standards development.

Ms. Simnick may be contacted at IAPMO, 909-472-4110 or email lynne.simnick@IAPMO.org

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