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Ultraviolet and Chlorine Disinfection of Mycobacterium in Wastewater: Effect of Aggregation

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Mycobacteria naturally aggregate in water, a characteristic that may serve to protect them against disinfection in wastewater. Secondary effluent was spiked with Mycobacterium terrae (M. terrae), sequentially filtered through 100-, 41-, and 20-μm nylon filters to partition aggregate sizes, confirmed using particle-size analysis and microscopy. Each sample was exposed to doses of UV light (10 to 60 mJ/cm2 at 254 nm) and free chlorine (27 to 150 mg-min/L at 4°C). Inactivation of M. terrae in wastewater was initially rapid, with 2.5 log reduction at 14 mJ/cm2 and 56 mg-min/L for UV and free chlorine, respectively. However, in effluent and 100-μm filtered wastewater, spiked M. terrae was present to the highest doses evaluated. Interestingly, M. terrae passed through 41- and 20-μm filters were inactivated rapidly, with no survivors after moderate disinfection doses. Inactivation of Mycobacteria in wastewater may be compromised by aggregates larger than 41 microns.

Keywords: Contaminant Candidate List; UV; chlorine; inactivation; particle association

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2006

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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