The project focuses on the reuse of effluent from WWTP's for irrigation in agriculture. To achieve this, the quality of the effluent is important, especially with regard to food safety. This project examines the extent to which contaminants from the effluent end up in and on the crop (fruit and vegetables), what the associated health risks are and what measures (water treatment, monitoring) are needed to minimize these risks. Since 25 May 2020, European regulations have been in force describing the minimum quality requirements of reused water for agricultural purposes. However, if it is suspected that this water may also contain other components that may affect public health, an additional risk assessment is required. The results of this project contribute to the acceptance of the use of effluent in agriculture and horticulture, the fight against the effects of drought and concrete tools for this risk assessment. The consortium consists of knowledge institutions, water boards, agricultural interest groups and technology suppliers.
The aim of MMIP C4, and in particular priority 22, is to enable the reuse of effluent for agriculture, among other things. Knowledge of crop exposure to pathogens and micropollutants is an important step in this and also knowledge of how to minimise any exposure risks. In this way, food safety is also ensured, and a contribution is also made to MMIP D4, priority 31.
This project provides the water boards with the knowledge as input for the risk inventory required in order to reuse the effluent directly usefully (possibly with different quality, depending on application). The extractive lots (agricultural sector) can use a new and guaranteed water supply, even in dry seasons. The final price of the water should be of interest to both the water boards and the agricultural sector. The technology suppliers have an interest in the project by playing an important role in the provision of technology for monitoring water quality and purification.
The project is fully in line with the focus of MMIP C4 (improving water quality) and in particular priority 22 (reuse effluent for irrigation) and also fits in well with MMIP D4, priority 31 (Food safety hazard control in a circular food system). The proposed project will identify the health risks of effluent for irrigation and also measures to minimise these potential risks. The project focuses on the use of effluent of WWTP's. Given the good distribution of the approximately 330 WWTP’s across the country, the outcome of the project will be easy to translate and scale up to other regions. However, the required water treatments may be different depending on soil type, crop and quality effluent.