Seasonal and diurnal surveillance of treated and untreated wastewater for human enteric viruses

Kata Farkas, Miles Marshall, David Cooper, James E. McDonald, Shelagh K. Malham, Dafydd E. Peters, John D. Maloney, Davey L. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the abundance and fate of human viral pathogens in wastewater is essential when assessing the public health risks associated with wastewater discharge to the environment. Typically, however, the microbiological monitoring of wastewater is undertaken on an infrequent basis and peak discharge events may be missed leading to the misrepresentation of risk levels. To evaluate diurnal patterns in wastewater viral loading, we undertook 3-day sampling campaigns with bi-hourly sample collection over three seasons at three wastewater treatment plants. Untreated influent was collected at Ganol and secondary-treated effluent was sampled at Llanrwst and Betws-y-Coed (North Wales, UK). Our results confirmed the presence of human adenovirus (AdV), norovirus genotypes I and II (NoVGI and NoVGII) in both influent and effluent samples while sapovirus GI (SaVGI) was only detected in influent water. The AdV titre was high and relatively constant in all samples, whereas the NoVGI, NoVGII and SaVGI showed high concentrations during autumn and winter and low counts during the summer. Diurnal patterns were detected in pH and turbidity for some sampling periods; however, no such changes in viral titres were observed apart from slight fluctuations in the influent samples. Our findings suggest that viral particle number in wastewater is not affected by daily chemical fluctuations. Hence, a grab sample taken at any point during the day may be sufficient to enumerate the viral load of wastewater effluent within an order of magnitude while four samples a day are recommended for testing wastewater influent samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33391-33401
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


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