The contents of FC, somatic coliphages and F-specific bacteriophages were measured in the stabilization pond and stabilization reservoir system of the City of Arad (Israel) in order to determine the efficiency of the treatment process regarding the microorganisms removal. Monitoring was conducted close to one year. Physical and chemical parameters (temperature, pH, BOD5, COD, SS) were also analyzed with the aim of finding factors that affect the microorganisms removal. The field results prove a very good performance of this treatment system. FC, somatic coliphages and F-specific bacteriophages were removed between 4.16 and 5.76 log units, during winter and in between 6.02 and 6.47 log units during summer. The microbial quality of the final effluent complies with the WHO guidelines for unrestricted irrigation. The results also indicate that retention time and temperature seem to be the most important factors for microorganisms removal. F-specific bacteriophages were removed at higher rates than FC and somatic coliphages. Consequently, it is suggested that F-specific bacteriophages might be less adequate viral indicators for this treatment system.

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