Coliphages are among the most promising indicators of viral inactivation efficiency of wastewater treatment. Therefore, it is important to investigate the behaviour of coliphages in oxidation ponds from the viewpoint of predicting the inactivation of infectious viruses. In this study, numbers of coliphages were measured in oxidation ponds consisting of a series of facultative and maturation ponds. In parallel with this investigation, the effects of temperature and pH on the behaviour of coliphages were examined in the laboratory, employing three species of coliform bacteria as host cells.
The field investigation showed that there was positive correlation between counts of coliphages and those of coliform bacteria, and that more than 99% of coliphages were inactivated. The inactivation efficiency of coliphages in the facultative pond was much higher than in the maturation pond. The results of the laboratory experiments indicated that at 30°C more than 99% of the coliform group were destroyed in 7 days of incubation and that coliphages counts increased from 105/100 ml to 107/100 ml with a lag time of 3 days. Greater reduction of the coliform count was obtained at higher incubation temperatures. It was observed that the coliphages possessed greater ability to attack coliform bacteria at acidic rather than alkaline pH.