Viral Removal by Wastewater Treatment: Monitoring of Indicators and Pathogens

Research paper by A. Carducci, R. Battistini, E. Rovini, M. Verani

Indexed on: 07 May '09Published on: 07 May '09Published in: Food and Environmental Virology


The discharge of treated civil wastewater into natural waters or their reuse in industry and agriculture involves virological risks for the exposed population. Although European and Italian regulations do not require routine viral analysis of treated wastewater, a better understanding of viral contamination and resistance to treatments is needed to assess and control such risks. To this end, a wastewater treatment plant was monitored by analysing the sewage at the plant entry and exit points in order to quantify the initial presence and eventual reduction of adenovirus, Torque Teno virus, Hepatitis A virus, rotavirus, enterovirus, norovirus genogroups I and II, somatic coliphages, Escherichia coli and enterococci. The results reveal that treated water may still contain infectious human viruses and thereby represent a potential health hazard. No significant correlations were found between bacterial indicators and the viruses considered, confirming their inadequacy for virological risk assessment, while the best indicators for virus inactivation in recycled waters seem to be adenovirus, followed by somatic coliphages.