Membrane Bioreactor-Based Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saudi Arabia: Reduction of Viral Diversity, Load, and Infectious Capacity

M.R. Jumat, N.A. Hasan, P. Subramanian, C. Heberling, R.R. Colwell, P. -Y. Hong
Water (Switzerland), volume 9, issue 7, article number 534, (2017)

Membrane Bioreactor-Based Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saudi Arabia: Reduction of Viral Diversity, Load, and Infectious Capacity

Keywords

Log removal values, Enteroviruses, Adenoviruses, Diagnostic immunofluorescence, Water reuse

Abstract

A membrane bioreactor (MBR)-based wastewater treatment plant in Saudi Arabia was assessed over a nine-month period for virus removal efficiency. Viral diversity was detected using omics-based approaches. Log reduction values (LRV) of Adenoviruses (AdV) and Enteroviruses (EV) were enumerated using digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) and assessed for infectivity using fluorescence-based infection assays. MBR treatment was successful in reducing viral diversity. Plant viruses remained abundant in the treated effluent. Human enteric viruses were present in lower abundance than plant viruses, and were reduced by MBR at varying LRV. AdV copy numbers were reduced by 3.7-log. Infectious AdV was not detected in the effluent. EV copy numbers were reduced by 1.7-log post MBR and infectious EV decreased by an average of 2.0-log. Infectious EV was detected in the chlorinated effluent, occasionally in concentrations that approximate to its 50% infectious dose. Overall, results indicated that a MBR-based wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effectively reduces viral diversity, viral load, and infectious capacity by up to 4-logs. These findings suggest potential concerns associated with plant and human enteric viruses for reuse events in this country. Local guidelines for assessment of treated water quality should take into consideration both infectious viral concentration and LRV.

Code

DOI: 10.3390/w9070534

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