Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.;M.P.H.

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Linda Whiteford, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Amy Stuart, Ph.D.

Keywords

Water reuse, Sustainability, PBDEs, Flame retardants, Risk perception, Risk communication, Political ecology, Wastewater

Abstract

Reclaimed water has increased in popularity as a means to recycle water and thus decrease the amount of wasteful water use. This process is widely used in Tampa Bay for watering of lawns. This increase in popularity and use has raised questions as to what contaminants are in the reclaimed water. The purpose of this study was to analyze reclaimed water for contaminants believed to be detrimental to health and conduct interviews to ascertain perceptions of risk in the local population. As water reuse grows in popularity further research will need to be conducted to address potential human health concerns. This research shows that there are potential health concerns related to reclaimed water when we use dioxin as a surrogate compound. Additionally, the research shows that local governments aren't doing enough to communicate information to local communities. Any policy that moves forward in regards to supplementing drinking water with reclaimed water must incorporate local communities in the decision making process. Decisions made in the absence of information can be misguiding and the first feedback of these decisions is felt by local communities. With their input in the beginning, throughout the decision making process, and during the evaluation period, new information will be generated. The incorporation of the community in the decision making process will make the reclaimed for drinking water initiative, more successful.

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