One solution to current water scarcity is the reuse of treated wastewater. Water reuse systems have to be examined as a whole, including the efficacy of water-reclamation treatments and the operation steps from the wastewater inlet into the WWTP to the irrigation endpoint, including the irrigated crop. In this study, the monitoring of human enteric viruses and coliphages were assessed in two water reused systems. The presence of hepatitis A virus (HAV) and human noroviruses genogroups I and II (GI and GII) were analyzed by real-time RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) in water (n = 475) and leafy green samples (n = 95). Total coliphages were analyzed by the double-layer agar plaque technique. The prevalence of HAV in water samples was very low (c.a. 2%), mostly linked to raw sewage, while for leafy green samples, none was positive for HAV. In leafy greens, prevalence of norovirus was low (less than 5–6%). The highest reductions for norovirus were observed in samples taken from the water reservoirs used by the growers near the growing field. The virus die-off during water storage due to solar radiation could be considered as an additional improvement. Reclamation treatments significantly reduced the prevalence and the counts of noroviruses GI and GII and coliphages in reclaimed water. However, the coliphage reductions (c.a. 5 log) do not comply with the specifications included in the new European regulation on reclaimed water (≥6.0 log). Correlations between noroviruses GI and GII and coliphages were found only in positive samples with high concentrations (>4.5 log PFU/100 mL). A high percentage of samples (20–25%) negative for total coliphages showed moderate norovirus counts (1–3 logs), indicating that coliphages are not the most suitable indicator for the possible presence of human enteric viruses.
|Journal||Science of the Total Environment|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Aug 2021|
- Agricultural water
- Hepatitis A
- Human norovirus
- Reclaimed water
- Water scarcity