Chlorination of indicator bacteria and viruses in primary sewage effluent

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Julia A TreeD N Lees


Wastewater disinfection is used in many countries for reducing fecal coliform levels in effluents. Disinfection is therefore frequently used to improve recreational bathing waters which do not comply with microbiological standards. It is unknown whether human enteric viruses (which are responsible for waterborne disease) are simultaneously inactivated alongside fecal coliforms. This laboratory study focused on the chlorination of primary treated effluent with three doses (8, 16, and 30 mg/liter) of free chlorine as sodium hypochlorite. Seeding experiments showed that inactivation (>5 log(10) units) of Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis was rapid and complete but that there was poor inactivation (0.2 to 1.0 log(10) unit) of F(+)-specific RNA (FRNA) bacteriophage (MS2) (a potential virus indicator) at all three doses. However, seeded poliovirus was significantly more susceptible (2.8 log(10) units) to inactivation by chlorine than was the FRNA bacteriophage. To ensure that these results were not artifacts of the seeding process, comparisons were made between inactivation rates of laboratory-seeded organisms in sterilized sewage and inactivation rates of organisms occurring naturally in sewage. Multifactorial analysis of v...Continue Reading


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