A river intensively used along its entire course for extracting potable water and for discharging domestic and industrial effluents permanently carries a high load of viruses, including hepatitis A and rotaviruses. In the areas supplied with potable water from this river hepatitis A is endemic. The river has been investigated four times at 16 or more sampling points throughout its course in the years 1981, 1982 and 1983. Coincident with the virological investigation, biological, microbiological and chemical examinations were conducted with the same water sample. At some representatively distributed sampling points along the river course, tests for heavy metals (Cd, Ni, Cu, Cr, Pb) and selected chemical compounds were also performed. The virological quality of the river water largely depends on the virus input via domestic sewage. Statistically significant correlations have been found between virus level, pH, NH4+ and NO3. Amoebae species are likely to counteract viruses. Knowing the dynamics of river water exploitation above the extraction sites, a model for the estimation of virus content in the raw water could be developed.

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