Home\Educate\Water Reuse 101\Research Projects\Year\2014\Utilization of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Approach for Evaluating Integrity of Treatment Barriers for Reuse

Utilization of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Approach for Evaluating Integrity of Treatment Barriers for Reuse

Project: 09-03
Type: Report
Year Released: 2014

Program: Principal
Funding Partners: Bureau of Reclamation, California State Water Resources Control Board, Water Research Foundation
Total Investment: $295,271.49 (Cash: $161,770.60, In-Kind: $133,500.89)

Principal Investigator: David Halliwell, Water Quality Research Australia Ltd.


It is not practicable to routinely and continuously measure microbial pathogens in treated recycled water to demonstrate that concentrations are continually low enough that the water is safe for common end uses. The hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) system was developed as an engineering means of controlling microbial hazards in consumed food. HACCP in its current form for the food sector is described in detail by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization. It is important to note that HACCP has been adopted internationally by a number of countries to manage microbiological and chemical contaminants in water treatment systems, including reclaimed water plants, and yet its use in the water industry in the United States remains limited.

Goals and Objectives

The project builds on Australian and broader international experience with HACCP for recycled water management and help evaluate, pilot test, and tailor a HACCP approach for microbial control in U.S. reclaimed water systems, including consideration of the benefits and disadvantages of adopting a HACCP approach for microbial control of reclaimed water systems. Although water reclamation in the United States is regulated by individual states, templates for three types of reclaimed water systems based on HACCP principles have been proposed for consideration by U.S. states for incorporation into their water recycling regulations (refer to Appendices F–G).

Research Approach

There were four elements to the project, including:

Task 1: Literature review. Collated, reviewed and synthesized previous HACCP studies. Documented the evolution of HACCP, its current status and potential barriers for adoption in the US.

Task 2: Data collection and case studies. Examination of water industry HACCP plans in use to enable a comparison and analysis of approaches.

Task 3: Gap analysis studies. Analysis of two US treatment facilities to compare the differences with their current approaches to microbial control versus a HACCP approach.

Task 4: HACCP plan templates. The generation of three HACCP plan templates intended for use by those wishing to adopt a HACCP approach.

Findings and Conclusions

HACCP was demonstrated to be a useful, good practice, product quality management system tool. The study authors recommend review of and adherence to the intent of the HACCP principles by recycled water scheme operators and managers. Just how literal and formal implementation of HACCP should be depends on the specific circumstances of each jurisdiction and scheme and can be judged on a case-by-case basis. Considerations include the current regulatory context, stage of scheme development, scale of scheme, and utility and quality of existing systematic management systems.

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