Greywater pollution variability and loadings

Eva Eriksson, Henrik Rasmus Andersen, Toke S. Madsen, Anna Ledin

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Small on-site greywater treatment and reuse plants are susceptible to high short-term variation in flow and pollutant concentrations. As demonstrated in this study of a bathroom greywater plant in Copenhagen, Denmark, the flow ranges from no-flow periods to high-flow periods reaching 34 l min−1. Concentrations of both macro- and micro-pollutants (organic matter and parabens) were found to range by several orders of magnitude in the influent, based on sampling every 20 min. Paraben degradation was proven to occur in the rotating biological contactor (RBC), while the remnant organic matter in the effluent was proved not to be readily degradable. Ammonium content, presumably from urine contamination, was found to undergo nitrification in the RBC. Mass flow (daily loads) for individual substances was calculated for several pollutants. Macropollutants were found to be generated in low numbers of grams per person per day, whereas the paraben loadings were below 1 mg per person per day. These data are highly relevant for comparing decentralised treatment options with existing end-of-pipe treatments, for feeding into risk assessments and for design purposes.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEcological Engineering
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)661-669
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • On-site treatment
    • Parabens
    • RBC
    • Grey wastewater
    • Mass flow
    • Daily load


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