oa South African Health Review - Public health implications of greywater generation in South Africa : testing a greywater treatment model : reflections on the Millennium Development Goals - profile

Volume 2010, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1025-1715



Greywater is wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing and bathing that can be recycled on-site for re-use in landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands. Greywater differs from water from toilets, designated sewage or blackwater, which contains human waste.

Greywater is thus domestic wastewater, without any input from toilets, which carries finite concentrations of microorganisms such as faecal coliforms, E.coli and opportunistic pathogens. It also contains easily degradable organic matter that can result in microbial re-growth. Re-growth and biodegradation leads to a decrease in the concentration of dissolved oxygen and the evolution of odours and promotion of mosquito breeding. Greywater has been shown to contain heavy metals and up to 900 xenobiotic organic compounds.

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