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Terms & Synonyms

Official WHO Definition

a) Liquid (e.g. treated or untreated wastewater) that flows out of a process or confined space).b) Liquid waste flowing out of a tank or sewage works, excrete. Faeces and urine.

Other Definitions


Interpretations and Explanations

Proper disposal of the effluent or liquid wastes of latrines is important for human health. Some of the demands for water, particularly for agriculture and fish breeding, can be met by reusing properly treated effluent, since the water quality requirements for these purposes are not as high as for drinking-water. Both industrial effluent and domestic sewage should be treated to minimize pollution risks. The treated wastes should not contain pathogens, because these could contaminate products and infect consumers, or be accidentally ingested by farmers during handling. When wastewater is reused, care should be taken to separate domestic effluent from industrial effluent, since the industrial effluent may contain chemicals harmful to health or the environment, such as heavy metals.


a) WHO (2006) Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater.b) WHO (1992) A guide to the development of on-site sanitation

WHO (2006). WHO Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywaterWHO (1992). A guide to the development of on-site sanitationWHO (2002). WHO Healthy villages: a guide for communities and community health workersWHO, IRC (2003) Linking technology choice with operation and maintenance in the context of community water supply and sanitation: A reference document for planners and project staffWHO (2000). WHO Operation and maintenance of rural water supply and sanitation systems: A training package for managers and plannersPAHO (2003). Water disinfection

WHO Lexicon page (translations and examples)

See also

External Resources


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