Assessing environmental risks of laundry detergents in greywater used for irrigation

Daryl Stevens, Peter Dillon, Declan Page, Michael Warne, Guang Guo Ying

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The objective of this study was to assess the environmental risk posed to Australian and New Zealand ecosystems by the presence of powdered laundry detergents in greywater used for irrigating gardens. Fifty powdered laundry detergents were assessed and all contained hazards which posed moderate to very high risks from increased alkalinity, sodicity and salinity to plants and soils when used at manufacturer-recommended doses and the resulting greywater used for irrigation. A number of detergents had phosphorus and boron concentrations considered to be a high risk for a number of plants. Risk to groundwater quality was also evaluated and found to potentially be a tighter constraint than risk to plants and soil where irrigation reuse is extensive in arid areas. A detergent environmental performance index was composed on risks assessed for three scenarios to compare with a washability performance index for the same powders. Only one detergent exceeded the 80% environmental index (100% = low risk from all hazards assessed) and maintained wash performance above 85%. The analysis suggests that for poorly drained soils greywater reuse is not recommended for most of the powdered laundry detergents evaluated. However the methodology may provide a basis for environmental labelling of detergents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-77
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Water Reuse and Desalination
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Laundries
Detergents
detergent
environmental risk
Irrigation
irrigation
Soils
Hazards
hazard
sodicity
Boron
soil
Alkalinity
boron
Powders
Ecosystems
Phosphorus
Labeling
alkalinity
garden

Bibliographical note

Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination is an international open access journal

Keywords

  • Detergent
  • Environment
  • Greywater
  • Groundwater protection
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Filtration and Separation

Cite this

Assessing environmental risks of laundry detergents in greywater used for irrigation. / Stevens, Daryl; Dillon, Peter; Page, Declan; Warne, Michael; Ying, Guang Guo.

In: Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination, Vol. 1, No. 2, 01.12.2011, p. 61-77.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stevens, Daryl ; Dillon, Peter ; Page, Declan ; Warne, Michael ; Ying, Guang Guo. / Assessing environmental risks of laundry detergents in greywater used for irrigation. In: Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination. 2011 ; Vol. 1, No. 2. pp. 61-77.
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