Facing challenges in water demands and population size, particularly in the water-scarce regions in the United States, the reuse of treated municipal wastewater has become a viable potential to relieve the ever-increasing demands of providing water for (non-)potable use. The objectives of this study were to assess microbial quality of reclaimed water and to investigate treatability of microorganisms during different treatment processes. Raw and final treated effluent samples from three participating utilities were collected monthly for 16 months and analyzed for various microbial pathogens and fecal indicator organisms. Results revealed that the detectable levels of microbial pathogens tested were observed in the treated effluent samples from all participating utilities. Log10
reduction values (LRVs) of Cryptosporidium
oocysts and Giardia
cysts were at least two orders of magnitude lower than those of human adenovirus and all fecal indicator organisms except for aerobic endospores, which showed the lowest LRVs. The relatively higher LRV of the indicator organisms such as bacteriophages suggested that these microorganisms are not good candidates of viral indicators of human adenovirus during wastewater treatment processes. Overall, this study will assist municipalities considering the use of wastewater effluent as another source of drinking water by providing important data on the prevalence, occurrence, and reduction of waterborne pathogens in wastewater. More importantly, the results from this study will aid in building a richer microbial occurrence database that can be used towards evaluating reuse guidelines and disinfection practices for water reuse practices.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited