, Volume 105, Issue 3, pp 689-696

Fate of Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium hominis oocysts and Giardia duodenalis cysts during secondary wastewater treatments

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Abstract

This study investigates the fate of Cryptosporidium parvum and C. hominis oocysts and Giardia duodenalis cysts at four Irish municipal wastewater treatment plants (i.e., Plant A, B, C, and D) that utilize sludge activation or biofilm-coated percolating filter systems for secondary wastewater treatment. The fate of these pathogens through the sewage treatment processes was determined based on their viable transmissive stages, i.e., oocysts for Cryptosporidium and cysts for Giardia. Analysis of final effluent indicated that over 97% of viable oocysts and cysts were eliminated, except at Plant C, which achieved only 64% of oocyst removal. A significant correlation between the removal of oocysts and cysts was found at Plants A, B, and D (R = 0.98, P < 0.05). All sewage sludge samples were positive for C. parvum and C. hominis, and G. duodenalis, with maximum concentrations of 20 oocysts and eight cysts per gram in primary sludge indicating the need for further sludge sanitization treatments. This study provides evidence that C. parvum and C. hominis oocysts and G. duodenalis cysts are present throughout the wastewater processes and in end-products, and can enter the aquatic environment with consequent negative implications for public health.