The effluent from the waste stabilization ponds (WSPs) of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka Campus, is used for irrigation by poor rural farmers. There has been fear that the poorly maintained WSPs and the reuse practices are contributing to environmental degradation and health hazards. In this study the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the WSPs and reuse were evaluated based on data collected from questionnaires and the literature. The engineering and agricultural properties of soil in the irrigated and nonirrigated areas were compared. Comparison of the health status of the farmers and nonfarmers, of consumers of crops irrigated with wastewater and nonconsumers was performed using Student’s t test and the z-score test. The occurrences of diarrhea, typhoid fever, and malaria among the various groups were used as indices. Analyses show that the health status of the farmers and consumers is poorer than those of nonfarmers and nonconsumers at the 5% level of significance. Vegetable cultivation using WSP effluent is a means of sustenance to the farmers and provides an affordable means of satisfying their nutritional deficiencies. However, the poorly maintained WSPs create odor and mosquito nuisances, trap and destroy livestock, and flood nearby compounds with waste debris. At both 1% and 5% levels of significance, communities around the ponds (< 300 m) suffer malaria more frequently than those who live far away (> or = 300 m). Cost-benefit analysis argues in favor of improvement of WSP management and irrigation reuse of wastewater. Dredging of the ponds, training workers and farmers, and adopting appropriate maintenance and monitoring strategies will greatly enhance the socioeconomic status of the urban poor farmers.
Analysis of Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts of Waste Stabilization Pond and Unrestricted Wastewater Irrigation: Interface with Maintenance. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12180167_Analysis_of_Socioeconomic_and_Environmental_Impacts_of_Waste_Stabilization_Pond_and_Unrestricted_Wastewater_Irrigation_Interface_with_Maintenance [accessed Dec 28, 2015].