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Peracetic Acid (PAA) Disinfection: Inactivation of Microbial Indicators and Pathogenic Bacteria in a Municipal Wastewater Plant

Department of Public Health and Pediatrics, University of Torino, Piazza Polonia 94, 10126 Torino, Italy
Società Metropolitana Acque Torino S.p.A., XI Febbraio, 14, 10152 Torino, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2017, 9(6), 427;
Received: 4 May 2017 / Revised: 7 June 2017 / Accepted: 8 June 2017 / Published: 13 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Disinfection of Wastewater)
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Several studies have noted that treated and untreated wastewaters are primary contributors of a variety of pathogenic microorganisms to the aquatic ecosystem. Conventional wastewater treatment may not be sufficient to achieve microbiologically safe effluent to be discharged into natural waters or reused, thus requiring wastewater effluents to be disinfected. In recent years, peracetic acid (PAA) has been adopted as a disinfectant for wastewater effluents. The aim of this study was to evaluate the disinfection efficiency of PAA at low doses (range 0.99–2.10 mg/L) against microbial indicators and pathogenic bacteria in a municipal wastewater plant. Samples of untreated sewage and effluents before and after PAA treatment were collected seasonally for 1 year and were analysed for pathogenic Campylobacter, Salmonella spp., E. coli O157:H7 and E. coli virulence genes using molecular methods; moreover, the detection of specific microbial indicators (E. coli, faecal coliforms, enterococci, C. perfringens) and Salmonella spp. were carried out using culturing methods. Salmonella spp. DNA was found in all untreated sewage and effluent before PAA treatment, whereas it was recovered in 50% of the samples collected after PAA treatment. Although E. coli O157:H7 was never identified, the occurrence of Shiga-like toxin I amplicons was identified in 75% of the untreated sewage samples, in 50% of the effluents assayed before PAA treatment, and in 25% of the effluents assayed after PAA treatment, whereas the stx2 gene was never found. Campylobacter coli was only detected in one effluent sample before PAA treatment. In the effluents after PAA treatment, a lower load of indicator bacteria was observed compared to the effluents before treatment. The results of this study highlight that the use of low doses of PAA seems to lead to an improvement of the microbiological quality of the effluent, although it is not sufficient to guarantee its suitability for irrigation. These results underscore the need for additional studies to further assess the efficiency of PAA disinfection in municipal wastewater plants. View Full-Text
Keywords: wastewater; peracetic acid; microbial indicators; pathogenic bacteria wastewater; peracetic acid; microbial indicators; pathogenic bacteria

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Bonetta, S.; Pignata, C.; Lorenzi, E.; De Ceglia, M.; Meucci, L.; Bonetta, S.; Gilli, G.; Carraro, E. Peracetic Acid (PAA) Disinfection: Inactivation of Microbial Indicators and Pathogenic Bacteria in a Municipal Wastewater Plant. Water 2017, 9, 427.

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