Virus Removal in Wastewater
Globally small scale (community level) waste treatment systems offer a sustainable and economical method of treatment for wastewater. The actual removal mechanisms occurring within these systems are largely a black box and only a few studies have been conducted on virus removal specifically. Most studies predict virus removal using the indicator organisms such as E. coli and bacteriophages which are variable and often unreliable as viral indicators. There is an increasing trend to introduce higher technology systems to treat wastewater but the implications of this may include a reduced removal of pathogenic viruses due to their inherent resistance to treatments such as UV. We aim to establish the real risk of viral pathogen loading into the environment from wastewater and establish low cost, sustainable solutions to this problem. Our group is working in collaboration with other scientists at NIWA to offer these solutions. The research is linked to the Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research (CIBR) lead by ESR.
A poster presentation about the mechanisms of virus removal in waste stabilisation ponds can be found here [PDF, 8.6 MB].
Mesocosms static experiment