The purpose of this study was to present a methodology with superior efficiency for inactivating pathogenic indicators commonly found in domestic sewage. The adopted method was based on synergistic effect resulting from the introduction of a UV radiation pre-disinfection stage of sewage followed by secondary treatment. A pilot unit was installed in the sewage treatment plant of the University of São Paulo to simulate the combined system in full-scale operational conditions. Its performance was evaluated through microbiological examinations for determining Escherichia coli, total coliforms and coliphages. The application of UV radiation at 5.1 mW/cm2 for 10 s of exposure in the first disinfection stage was enough to reduce the surviving number of E. coli around 100 times, in comparison to the conventional method. Therefore, based on experimental data, it is possible to conclude that combining treatment and pre-disinfection stage is an effective potential technique to produce effluents with lower degree of contamination by pathogenic organisms.

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