To determine whether long-term sewage treatment can take place without a pollution risk for soil and groundwater, samples from sewage irrigation fields in West Berlin which have been in use since about 1890 were analyzed for enteric viruses and microorganisms. Enteric viruses were detected in only seven samples from a total number of eighty seven taken from different soil depths. With only one exception, no viruses were found below 60 cm. No viruses were detected in groundwater samples. Long-term sewage irrigation did not result in significant changes in the colony courts of aerobic soil bacteria, but the counts of anaerobic bacteria and actinomycetes were slightly elevated and those of microscopic fungi slightly decreased. Potentially pathogenic bacteria were not detected in soil below 90 cm.

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