Qualitative assessment of Shiraz wastewater treatment plant effluent for different purposes

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Soil Science Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Water Science and Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

3 Department of Water Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Fasa University, Fasa, Iran

4 Department of Agroecology, Research Institute of Environmental Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Today, treated wastewater is widely used on agricultural soils adjacent to urban areas of developing countries to meet water shortages. On the other hand, due to the pollution increase, the limited available resources are threatened. For the production of crops, unconventional water is used in many countries of the world if it has the necessary standard, and municipal wastewater treatment plants are a very reliable source due to their ability to deliver sustainable water in all seasons. In recent years, several studies have been conducted in the field of the effluent quality of municipal wastewater treatment plants and the possibility of using them in various applications, including agriculture, in different regions of Iran. Due to the water crisis that has arisen, especially in arid and semi-arid regions of the country, it is necessary to study and analyze the possibility of further use of this unconventional water resource. However, wastewater recycling can have various health and environmental effects.
Material and methods: In this study, the effluent quality of the Shiraz municipal wastewater treatment plant was investigated using the daily data during 2018 and 2019 for use in various purposes such as irrigation of crops, irrigation of green spaces, drinking of livestock and poultry, fish farming, discharge into streams, artificial recharge of groundwater based on national and international standards. In this regard, at first, the values of various physical and chemical parameters such as acidity, electrical conductivity, total dissolved solids, total suspended solids, total volatile solids, total solids, chemical oxygen demand, biochemical oxygen demand, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, detergents, phosphate, total phosphorus, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, Kjeldahl total nitrogen, free chlorine, and fat-oil-grease were determined in raw and treated wastewater. Then, while comparing the values of these parameters with the standard of the Environmental Protection Organization of Iran, the removal efficiencies of these parameters were calculated and finally, the quality of the effluent was investigated for use in various sectors.
Results and discussion: The results showed that the removal efficiency of BOD5, COD, TSS, NH3, detergents, and fat-oil-grease in this treatment plant is 85, 85, 67, 64, 94, and 68.5%, respectively. The quality of the effluent is only suitable for agricultural purposes based on the standard of the Environmental Organization of Iran, and according to other standards, it is not capable of such use. This effluent can be used to irrigate ornamental fruit trees, fodder crops, plenteous trees and green spaces side of the roads outside the city, field crops, industrial crops, and forestry, as well as drinking livestock and poultry. However, there are limitations for urban green space irrigation, fish farming, discharge to surface waters (such as Maharloo lake in the vicinity of the wastewater plant), and groundwater recharge, although some of these limitations can be improved by upgrading the function of the treatment plant. By irrigating unfruitful plants and forest parks around Shiraz and even part of urban green space, the pressure on water resources can be reduced to a great extent. On the other hand, the continuation of irrigation with this effluent, which contains organic and nutritious substances in a large proportion, has caused an increase in soil nitrate, and it will be possible to leach and transfer it to surface and underground water sources.
Conclusion: The amount of quality parameters of the treatment plant effluent is within the standard of Iranian Environmental Protection and can be used as a sustainable water source in areas that are not directly related to humans. In using this sustainable water source for permitted uses, all health issues for the workers of each sector must be observed, and the effluent must be continuously disinfected.


Abedi-Koupai, J., Mostafazadeh-Fard, B., Afyuni, M. and Bagheri, M.R., 2006. Effect of treated wastewater on soil chemical and physical properties in an arid region. Plant, Soil and Environment. 52(8), 335-344.
Alizadeh, A., 1997. Use of treated wastewater in irrigation. Ministry of Energy, Water and Wastewater Engineering Company.
Amiri, M.J., Bahrami, M., Badkouby, M. and Kalavrouziotis, I.K., 2019. Greywater Treatment Using Single and Combined Adsorbents for Landscape Irrigation. Environmental Processes. 6, 43-63.
Anbir, L. and Noori, Z., 2018. Investigation of effluent quality of Ekbatan wastewater treatment plant for farm and green space irrigation. Land Management Journal. 6.1(1), 95-102. (In Persian with English abstract).
Bagheri Ardebilian, P., Sadeghi, H., Nabaii, A. and Bagheri Ardebilian M., 2020. Assessment of wastewater treatment plant efficiency: a case study in Zanjan. Journal of Health and Hygiene. 1(3), 67-75. (In Persian with English abstract).
Bahrami, A., 2014. Studying the effect of soils specific surface area on hydraulic functions. Ph.D. Thesis. Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
Bahrami, A. and Aghamir, F., 2020. Simulation of vadose zone flow processes using inverse modeling of modified multistep outflow for fine-grained soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 84, 1592-1605.
Bahrami, M., Amiri, M.J. and Badkubi, M., 2020a. Application of horizontal series filtration in greywater treatment: a semi-industrial study. Australasian Journal of Water Resources. 24(2), 236-247.
Bahrami, M., Khaksar, E. and Khaksar, E., 2020b. Spatial variation assessment of groundwater quality using multivariate statistical analysis (case study: Fasa Plain, Iran). Journal of Groundwater Science and Engineering. 8(3), 230-243.
Bekhradipour, K. and Ghasemiye, H., 2011. Use of unconventional water in water crisis management: case study of Kashan plain, In Proceedings 1st Conference on Water Crisis in Kashan Plain, 20 Dec. 2011, Kashan, Iran. p 141-148.
Choopan, Y. and Emami, S., 2020. Investigation the possibility of using Torbat-Heydarieh urban wastewater for irrigation of agricultural products. Journal of Water and Wastewater Science and Engineering. 5(1), 39-45.
Cirelli, G., Consoli, S., Licciardello, F., Aiello, R., Giuffrida, F. and Leonardi, C., 2012. Treated municipal wastewater reuse in vegetable production. Agricultural Water Management. 104,163-70.
Dehghani, F., Karimi Jashni, A. and Minosepehr, M., 2013a. Evaluation of efficiency of Shiraz wastewater treatment plant. 1st National Conference on Water and Wastewater Engineering Sciences, 26 Feb. 2013. Kerman, Iran. p 56-64.
Dehghani, M., Behmiyari, M., Ekhlasi, J. and Malekniya, H., 2013b. Investigating the efficiency of Shiraz municipal wastewater treatment plant in detergent removal. In Peroceedings 1st National and Specialized Conference on Environmental Research in Iran, 31th Oct, Hamedan, Iran. p. 111-121.
Dehghani, M., Saadatjou, H. and Zamaniyan, Z., 2012. Evaluation of efficiency of Shiraz municipal wastewater treatment plant in removing fat, oil and grease. In Peroceedings 15th National Conference on Environmental Health, 30th Oct.-1st Nov, Rasht, Iran. p. 35-44.
Dehghani firoozabady, A., Zarei MahmoodAbady, H. and Ehrampush. M.H., 2017. Investigation on industrial waste waters reuse of industrial towns for agricultural and irrigation uses (case study: treatment plant of Jahan Abad Meybod industrial town). Journal Tolooebehdasht Science. 16 (3), 34-45.
Dindarlou, A. and Dastourani, M., 2018. Investigation of the efficiency of sewage treatment using activated sludge method to supply water for reuse in agricultural irrigation (case study: Kermanshah treatment plant). Journal of Water and Sustainable Development. 4(2), 31-40.
Einollahipeer, F., Ghaffari, M. and Dahmardeh Behrooz, R., 2020. Evaluation of urban wastewater with CWQI model for agriculture and aquaculture reuse (case study in Zabol, Sistan and Baloochestan, Iran). Journal of Animal Environment. 12(4), 581-592.
Emamjomeh, M.M., Tari, K., Jamali, H.A., Karyab, H. and Hosseinkhani, M., 2017. Quality assessment of wastewater treatment plant effluents for discharge into the environment and reuse. Journal of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences. 26 (145), 283-292.
Foladvand, H.R., 2009. Irrigation Principal, Shiraz Navid Press. Shiraz, Iran.
Ghasemi, A., 2019. Evaluation of effluent quality from wastewater treatment plants for use in agriculture. Master thesis. University of Ferdowsi, Mashhad, Iran.
Honarjoo, N. and Mardiha, A., 2019. Possibility of applying municipal wastewater of Baharestan city to remediate saline and sodic soils of Margh plain of Isfahan. Journal of Geography and Environmental Planning. 30(2), 1-16.
Huertas, E., Salgot, M., Hollender, J., Weber, S., Dott, W., Khan, S., Schaefer, A., Messalem, R., Bis, B., Aharoni, A. and Chikurel, H., 2008. Key objectives for water reuse concepts. Desalination. 218 (1-3), 120-31.
Kahkhamoghadam, P. and Banejad, H., 2019, Evaluation of effluent quality of Zabol municipal wastewater treatment plant for use in agricultural lands. 4th International Conference on the New Horizons in the Agricultural Sciences, Natural Resources and Environment, 31 May, Tehran, Iran. p. 348-356.
Kwiatkowski, J., Marciak, L.C., Wentz, D. and King, C.R., 1995. Salinity mapping for resource management within the County of Wheatland. Conservation and Development Branch, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Edmonton, 22.
Latifi, H., Noshadi, M. and pourmansour, S., 2019. Evaluating the efficiency of wastewater treatment plant (case study: Shiraz treatment plant number one). In Peroceedings 4th International Congress of Developing Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism of Iran. 14th-16th August, Tabriz, Iran. p. 11347-11359.
Mohammadi, P., Khashij, M., Takhtshahi, A. and Mousavi, S.A., 2016. Performance evaluation and biokinetic coefficients determination of activated sludge process of Sanandaj wastewater treatment plant. Journal of Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention. 4(2), 109-16.
Monzavi, M.T., 2004. Wastewater Collection, University of Tehran Press. Tehran, Iran.
Poordara, H., Zeini, M. and Falah, J., 2004. Using hospital wastewater effluent for irrigation of green fields. Water and Wastewater; Ab va Fazilab. 15 (1), 43-49. (In Persian with English abstract).
Publication No. 535, 2010. Environmental Criteria of Treated Waste Water and Return Flow Reuse. Office of Deputy for Strategic Supervision, 535.
Singh, P.K., Deshbhratar, P.B. and Ramteke, D.S., 2012. Effects of sewage wastewater irrigation on soil properties, crop yield and environment. Agricultural Water Management. 103, 100-104.
The world bank, 2020. Water in agriculture. Available online at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/water-in-agriculture, Accessed May 08, 2020.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), 2004. Guidelines for Water Reuse. Washington, DC, EPA/625/R-04/108 (NTIS PB2005 106542).
Vaseghi, E., Zare Mehrjerdi, M.R., Nikouei, A. and Mehrabi Boshrabadi, H., 2021. Risk assessment of using output effluent of urban wastewater treatment plants (case study: northern Isfahan wastewater treatment plant). Environmental Sciences. 19(2), 57-70.
Yazdanee, V., Ghahreman, B., Davudee, K. and Fazeli, E., 2014. The effect of waste water on physical and chemical features of soil. Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. 16(1), 543-558.
Zareei, S., Ghahramani, E., Dehestani Athar, S., Noori, B. and Zarei, A., 2018. Survey possibility on reuse of Sanandaj waste water treatment plan effluent in agriculture. Water Engineering. 6(2), 83-90.