201314 Wastewater Management: Issues in Environmental Public Health

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:00 AM

Max Zarate-Bermudez, MS, MPH, PhD , Environmental Health Services Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Wastewater management has been an important public health issue for centuries. Recent concerns related to wastewater treatment and disposal of treated wastewater, and disposal of wastewater byproducts like sewage sludge, biosolids, and septage (sludge from septic tanks) have increased. These concerns are related to contamination of water sources in the U.S. and the potential of human exposure to chemical and microbial contaminants through drinking and recreational waters. Americans use an average of >100 gallons of water per person per day (gpd). Assuming an average water use of 100 gpd and a U.S. population of 305 million people, the average water use would be 3,050 million gallons of per day (MGD). It is estimated that ~80% of the water used results in wastewater. The production of wastewater in the U.S. is estimated in 2,440 MGD. Almost 75 million people use onsite wastewater (septic) systems and near 230 million people are served with centralized wastewater treatment systems, thus it is important to know the contributions of these populations to the production of wastewater that will eventually reach the environment. Also, differences in treatment, monitoring, and disposal of treated wastewater or wastewater byproducts are important to take into account. Emerging areas in wastewater management like graywater reuse may employ similar considerations. This would help to formulate integrated approaches in addressing some of the millions of annual gastrointestinal illnesses attributed to water in the U.S. Implementing effective prevention strategies for waterborne diseases requires that the contributing factors to disease causation should be systematically understood.

Learning Objectives:
1. List and describe major types of wastewater treatment systems. 2. Describe stages of wastewater treatment processes. 3. Identify the vulnerability of wastewater management systems that may contribute to waterborne disease outbreaks. 4. Describe how disposal of treated wastewater and/or wastewater byproducts may impact the health of a watershed thus affect the quality of water and put public health at risk. 5. Evaluate the role of an integrated environmental public health approach in the investigation of waterborne disease outbreaks and identifying environmental factors related to the outbreaks.

Keywords: Water Quality, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My record of researching, teaching, and publishing in the wastewater management field.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.