The seasonal profiles of microorganisms in raw sewage, secondary-treated sewage, and final effluent at a wastewater treatment plant in Tokyo, Japan, were quantitatively determined each month for one year, from July 2003 to June 2004. Human noroviruses, which were determined by real-time PCR, in raw sewage varied from 0.17–260 copies/mL for genotype 1 and from 2.4–1900 copies/mL for genotype 2, showing much higher values in winter, the epidemic season. The concentration of total coliforms, Escherichia coli, or F-specific phages in raw sewage was almost constant throughout the year. Human noroviruses of genotype 2 were removed most effectively (3.69 log10 on average) at the wastewater treatment plant, followed by E. coli (3.37 log10), total coliforms (3.05 log10), F-specific phages (2.81 log10), and human noroviruses of genotype 1 (2.27 log10). The removal ratio of human noroviruses was almost constant, independent of the initial concentration of the viruses in raw sewage, which led to the increasing concentration of human noroviruses in final effluent in winter. None of the tested bacteria was judged to be a reliable indicator of human noroviruses in final effluent.

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