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Aerobiologia

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 507–515 | Cite as

Assessment of microbial aerosol emissions in an urban wastewater treatment plant operated with activated sludge process

  • Saied Fathi
  • Yaghoub Hajizadeh
  • Mahnaz Nikaeen
  • Mozhgan Gorbani
Original Paper
  • 247 Downloads

Abstract

Wastewater that enters wastewater treatment plants contains lots of pathogenic and nonpathogenic microorganisms which can become bioaerosols during treatment processes and pose health hazard to workers and nearby residents. The emission of the bioaerosols from an urban wastewater treatment plant in spring and summer in different locations and downwind of the plant adopting an extended mechanical aeration system was investigated. Samples of bacteria and fungi were collected within 6 months at 10 selected points by an Anderson one-stage impactor. The highest concentration of bacteria (mean 1373 CFU/m3, 741–2817 CFU/m3) and fungi (mean 1384 CFU/m3, 212–1610 CFU/m3) was found in downwind of the aeration basins. Statistical analysis showed a significant relationship between concentration of bacterial bioaerosols at downwind side of the aeration basins and wind speed (p value <0.05) and temperature (p value <0.05). Also, in the spring and summer, between the number of bacteria and fungi inside the plant and outside the plant (downwind) a significant correlation was observed (p value ≤0.05). The concentrations of bacteria at a distance of 500 m downwind were much higher than those at the background (upwind) point in spring and summer. The processes of wastewater treatment especially using mechanical equipment to create turbulence can be considered as a major source of spreading airborne microorganisms to ambient air of wastewater treatment plants, and the bioaerosols can be dispersed to downwind distances affecting the nearby neighboring. Therefore, in order to decrease the bioaerosols emission, doing some course of actions such as covering the surface of aeration basins, changing the aeration methods and aeration equipment (e. g using diffuser aerator) may be effective.

Keywords

Air pollution Wastewater treatment Aeration Bioaerosols 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was carried out as an M.Sc. dissertation and supported by Vice Chancellery for Research of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences and Chaharmahal-e-Bakhtiyari Province Water and Wastewater Company (Grant No: 394260).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health Engineering and Environment Research Center, School of Public HealthIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran

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