Abstract

In Ontario, Canada, information is lacking on chlorine and ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection performance against enteric viruses in wastewater. We enumerated enteroviruses and noroviruses, coliphages, and Escherichia coli per USEPA methods 1615, 1602, and membrane filtration, respectively, in pre- and post-disinfection effluent at five wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), with full-year monthly sampling, and calculated log10 reductions (LRs) while WWTPs complied with their monthly geometric mean limit of 200 E. coli/100 mL. Modeling of densities by left-censored estimation and Bayesian inference gave very similar results. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-detected enteroviruses and noroviruses were abundant in post-disinfection effluent (mean concentrations of 2.1 × 10+4–7.2 × 10+5 and 2.7 × 10+4–3.6 × 10+5 gene copies (GC)/L, respectively). Chlorine or UV disinfection produced modest LRs for culture- (0.3–0.9) and PCR-detected enteroviruses (0.3–1.3), as well as noroviruses GI + GII (0.5–0.8). Coliphages and E. coli were more susceptible, with LRs of 0.8–3.0 and 2.5, respectively. Sand-filtered effluent produced significantly higher enteric virus LRs (except cultured enteroviruses). Coliphage and human enteric virus densities gave significantly positive correlations using Kendall's Tau test. Enteric viruses are abundant in wastewater effluent following routine chlorine or UV disinfection processes that target E. coli. Coliphages appear to be good indicators for evaluating wastewater disinfection of enteric viruses.

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