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Modeling the Inactivation of Microorganisms Occluded in Effluent Wastewater Particles to Enhance Operation of Filtration and Disinfection Systems

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In disinfection systems, incomplete penetration of chlorine into effluent wastewater particles can result in a residual population of viable microorganisms. In this work, a combined experimental and numerical approach was used to quantify inactivation of microorganisms in effluent particles and identify combinations of particle removal and chlorine dose that would result in a reduction of occluded microorganisms for six full-scale facilities in the United States with different nitrification levels. The results reveal that combined chlorine is more effective for inactivating occluded microorganisms than free chlorine; model calibration results suggest that free chlorine is less effective because it is more reactive. However, nitrified effluents appear to have lower effluent particle concentrations, and decreases in particle concentrations significantly reduce the chlorine required. Additionally, in disinfection systems that are designed and operated based on inactivation of indicator organisms, the chlorine dose may be insufficient to inactivate occluded pathogens to levels consistent with current regulations.

Keywords: chlorine disinfection; filtration; particle size distribution; wastewater treatment

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2011

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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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