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Over 25% of the US population and 37% of all new development is served by onsite and smallscale wastewater systems. These systems rely on the infiltration and percolation of primary treated wastewater effluent through soil where advanced treatment occurs prior to release into the local groundwater environment. The work described here conducted at the Colorado School of Mines focuses on gaining a better understanding of what controls the natural disinfection and removal of virus in the subsurface, primarily in the region with on site wastewater system impacts. Static mini columns filled with medium sand were used to get an understanding of the importance of various conditions such as, pH, organic matter, and groundwater or effluent composition on the removal of viruses. The two bacteriophages, PRD-1 and MS-2, were used as surrogates of human enteric viruses. In this study, inactivation rates in soil free systems were found to be quite low (from negligible to 0.2688 day−1) suggesting the importance of attachment and other mechanisms in the removal of virus. Initial attachment studies show the importance of environmental conditions, especially organic matter, on the removal of viruses. For example, MS-2 removal was improved with the addition of 4 mg/l dissolved organic carbon to the sand-filled columns. These experiments and ongoing work will allow for the development of general equations incorporating the important processes involved in the attachment and inactivation/dieoff behavior of these viruses.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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