IWA Publishing

Characteristics of greywater from different sources within households in a community in Durban, South Africa

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The reuse of greywater is steadily gaining importance in South Africa. Greywater contains pollutants that could have adverse effects on the environment and public health if the water is not treated before reuse. Successful implementation of any greywater treatment process depends largely on its characteristics in terms of the pollutant strength. This study investigated the physico-chemical characteristics of greywater from different sources within 75 households in a community in Durban, South Africa. The study was undertaken to create an understanding of greywater quality from different sources within and between households. Greywater samples were collected from the kitchen, laundry and bathing facilities within each of the households. The samples were analysed for: pH, conductivity, turbidity, total solids, chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biological oxygen demand (BOD). There was a significant difference in the parameters analysed between the greywater from the kitchen compared with the greywater from the bathtub/shower and laundry. It was also observed that the characteristics of greywater from the different households varied considerably. The characteristics of the greywater obtained in this study suggest that the greywater generated cannot be easily treatable using biological treatment processes and/or technologies due to the very low mean BOD : COD ratio (<0.5).

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