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Health significance of airborne microorganisms from wastewater treatment processes. Part I: summary of investigations.
Hickey JL; Reist PC
J - Water Pollut Control Fed 1975 Dec; 47(12):2741-2757
Investigations concerning the health effects of airborne microorganisms from wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal processes were summarized. Numerous related articles were cited in addition to the 16 published reports, based on 13 field studies, concerning bacteria aerosols and wastewater. Several direct field investigations were discussed. As early as 1907, studies concluded that viable bacteria in wastewater could be aerosolized, thus contaminating the air. However, other studies suggested that the number of airborne bacteria emitted from wastewater sources was insignificant and posed no threat to health. Wastewater sources included sewers, activated sludge aeration tanks, trickling filter facility, and preaeration tanks. Airborne microorganisms originating from wastewater were discovered up to 8 kilometers downwind from the source. Sampling was conducted with agar plates, the Andersen six stage impactor, the Andersen drum sampler, the Wells air centrifuge, impinger samplers, membrane filter samplers, and slit samplers. Particle sizes of less than 5 microns in diameter were reported. Downwind distance, wastewater flow rate, air temperature, wind speed, humidity, darkness, and the size of the wastewater source were determined to affect viable particle emission rates. Larger quantities and varieties of enteric bacteria were collected downwind than were collected upwind. Summarized laboratory results indicated that the bacterial species, aeration bubble size, spore concentration, and the composition of the liquid affected the generation of viable aerosols. In conclusion, the authors discuss several additional studies, which report that the airborne organisms emitted from wastewater pose health hazards to workers as well as nearby residents.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Air-flow; Health-hazards; Workplace-studies; Analytical-methods; Air-sampling; Air-sampling-equipment; Airborne-particles; Sewage-treatment; Training; Temperature-effects; Environmental-factors
Environmental Sciences & Engr Univ of North Carolina Dept of Environ Scis & Engr Chapel Hill, N C 27514
Issue of Publication
Journal - Water Pollution Control Federation
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division