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Pathogen and Indicator Organism Reduction Through Secondary Effluent Filtration: Implications for Reclaimed Water Production

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The reduction of pathogens and indicator organisms through secondary effluent filtration was investigated at six full-scale treatment facilities, ranging in capacity from 0.04 to 1 m 3/s (1 to 25 mgd). Grab samples were assayed for pathogens (cultivable enteric viruses, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium) and indicator organisms (coliforms, enterococci, Clostridium perfringens, and coliphages) quarterly under peak flow conditions from each facility over the course of 1 calendar year. Log 10 removals resulting from filtration averaged 0.3 to 0.8 log 10 for cultivable enteric viruses, 0.4 to 1.5 log 10 for protozoan parasites, 0.01 to 3.7 log 10 for indicator bacteria, and 0.3 to 1.1 log 10 for coliphages. In addition to filter design (cloth, monomedium shallow- or deep-bed, or dual-media filters), differences in reduction of pathogens and indicators could be attributed to the combined effects of hydraulic loading rates, chemical addition practices, backwashing and postbackwashing operating strategies, and the effectiveness of upstream biological treatment and sedimentation.

Keywords: pathogens; prechlorination; reclaimed water; wastewater filtration

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2008

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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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