P.E. Saikaly, K. Hicks, M. Barlaz, F. de los Reyes III
Environmental Science and Technology, 44, pp. 8622-8628, (2010)
An understanding of the transport behavior of biological warfare (BW) agents in landfills is required to evaluate the suitability of landfills for the disposal of building decontamination residue (BDR) following a bioterrorist attack on a building. Surrogate BW agents, Bacillus atrophaeus spores and Serratia marcescens, were spiked into simulated landfill reactors that were filled with synthetic building debris (SBD) and operated for 4 months with leachate recirculation or water infiltration. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR) was used to monitor surrogate transport. In the leachate recirculation reactors, <10% of spiked surrogates were eluted in leachate over 4 months. In contrast, 45% and 31% of spiked S. marcescens and B. atrophaeus spores were eluted in leachate in the water infiltration reactors. At the termination of the experiment, the number of retained cells and spores in SBD was measured over the depth of the reactor. Less than 3% of the total spiked S. marcescens cells and no B. atrophaeus spores were detected in SBD. These results suggest that significant fractions of the spiked surrogates were strongly attached to SBD.