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Considerations in establishing a health risk management system for effluent irrigation in modern agriculture

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Treated sewage effluent is a valuable and reliable agricultural irrigation resource in areas of low or unpredictable rainfall. Its importance is likely to grow under the influence of global climate change. The use of this resource is not, however, without health risk which is difficult to estimate using data from standard microbial and physicochemical monitoring alone. A health risk management system enables risk reduction through hazard identification, risk characterisation and analysis, strategy development and implementation, intervention assessment and risk communication. In this process data from both risk assessment and routine technological monitoring are integrated to yield synergies. In addition to meaningful information is a need for intersectoral collaboration in making the right decisions. This can be achieved through the establishment of a multidisciplinary risk management team with members drawn from communities of practice. Examples from the University of Western Sydney (UWS) experience are used to support the suggestions made.

Affiliations: 1: School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney


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