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Water 2018, 10(3), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10030244

Reusing Treated Wastewater: Consideration of the Safety Aspects Associated with Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistance Genes

1
Water Desalination and Reuse Center, Division of Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
2
Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
3
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, P.O. Box, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
4
University of Basel, P.O. Box, CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland
5
Advanced Water Management Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
6
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
7
Engineering Research Center for Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
8
School of Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
9
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
10
CBQF—Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina—Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Rua Arquiteto Lobão Vital, Apartado 2511, 4202-401 Porto, Portugal
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Supply through Desalination and Wastewater Reuse)
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Abstract

As more countries engage in water reuse, either intended or de facto, there is an urgent need to more comprehensively evaluate resulting environmental and public health concerns. While antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) are increasingly coming under the spotlight, as emerging contaminants, existing water reuse regulations and guidelines do not adequately address these concerns. This perspectives paper seeks to frame the various challenges that need to be resolved to identify meaningful and realistic target types and levels of antibiotic resistance benchmarks for water reuse. First, there is the need for standardized and agreed-upon methodologies to identify and quantify ARB and ARGs. Second, even if methodologies are available, identifying which ARB and ARGs to monitor that would best relate to the occurrence of disease burden remains unknown. Third, a framework tailored to assessing the risks associated with ARB and ARGs during reuse is urgently needed. Fourth, similar to protecting drinking water sources, strategies to prevent dissemination of ARB and ARGs via wastewater treatment and reuse are required to ensure that appropriate barriers are emplaced. Finally, current wastewater treatment technologies could benefit from modification or retrofit to more effectively remove ARB and ARGs while also producing a high quality product for water and resource recovery. This perspectives paper highlights the need to consider ARB and ARGs when evaluating the overall safety aspects of water reuse and ways by which this may be accomplished. View Full-Text
Keywords: water reuse; wastewater treatment; source prevention; monitoring and surveillance; risk assessment water reuse; wastewater treatment; source prevention; monitoring and surveillance; risk assessment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Hong, P.-Y.; Julian, T.R.; Pype, M.-L.; Jiang, S.C.; Nelson, K.L.; Graham, D.; Pruden, A.; Manaia, C.M. Reusing Treated Wastewater: Consideration of the Safety Aspects Associated with Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistance Genes. Water 2018, 10, 244.

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