Release of infectious human enteric viruses by full-scale wastewater utilities.
Water Res. 2011 Jun ;45(12):3590-8. Epub 2011 Apr 19. PMID: 21570703
Fredrick James Simmons
In the United States, infectious human enteric viruses are introduced daily into the environment through the discharge of treated water and the digested sludge (biosolids). In this study, a total of 30 wastewater and 6 biosolids samples were analyzed over five months (May-September 2008-2009) from five full-scale wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Michigan using real-time PCR and cell culture assays. Samples were collected from four different locations at each WWTP (influent, pre-disinfection, post-disinfection and biosolids) using the 1MDS electropositive cartridge filter. Adenovirus (HAdV), enterovirus (EV) and norovirus genogroup II (NoV GGII) were detected in 100%, 67% and 10%, respectively of the wastewater samples using real-time PCR. Cytopathic effect (CPE) was present in 100% of the cell culture samples for influent, pre- and post-disinfection and biosolids with an average log concentration of 4.1 (2.9-4.7, range) 1.1 (0.0-2.3, range) and 0.5 (0.0-1.6, range) MPN/100 L and 2.1 (0.5-4.1) viruses/g, respectively. A significant log reduction in infectious viruses throughout the wastewater treatment process was observed at an average 4.2 (1.9-5.0, range) log units. A significant difference (p-value<0.05) was observed using real-time PCR data for HAdV but not for EV (p-value>0.05) removal in MBR as compared to conventional treatment. MBR treatment was able to achieve an additional 2 and 0.5 log reduction of HAdV and EV, respectively. This study has demonstrated the release of infectious enteric viruses in the final effluent and biosolids of wastewater treatment into the environment.