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Evaluation of photoreactivation of Escherichia coli and Enterococci after UV disinfection of municipal wastewater

Evaluation of photoreactivation of Escherichia coli and Enterococci after UV disinfection of municipal wastewater

Canadian Journal of Microbiology 54(11): 971-975

Because chlorine disinfection is not permitted in the province of Quebec, wastewater disinfection by ultraviolet (UV) light has been used for years in wastewater treatment plants. Thermotolerant coliforms discharge criteria are set for each plant and are adjusted by a factor of 1 log to compensate for photoreactivation in UV-disinfected effluents. The current study evaluated levels of Escherichia coli and enterococci photoreactivation from disinfected wastewater under varying temperature, visible light, and type of UV lamps. Escherichia coli photoreactivation increased significantly after exposure to 5600 lx compared with 1600 lx of visible light. This increase was significantly higher in warm water (25 degrees C) than cold water (4 degrees C). The level of photoreactivation of E. coli was also higher after wastewater disinfection by low-pressure UV lamps as opposed to medium-pressure UV lamps. Enterococci, however, were not photoreactivated under any test conditions. This result suggests that enterococci could be a better indicator than thermotolerant coliforms or E. coli. The use of enterococci would also eliminate the requirement to set different discharge criteria based on disinfection type (UV or chemical) and would also provide a better assessment of treatment efficiency for more resistant microorganisms.

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Accession: 053077945

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 18997854

DOI: 10.1139/w08-088

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