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Temporal variability of parasites, bacterial indicators, and wastewater micropollutants in a water resource recovery facility under various weather conditions

Tolouei, Samira, Burnet, Jean-Baptiste, Autixier, Laurène, Taghipour, Milad, Bonsteel, Jane, Duy, Sung Vo, Sauvé, Sébastien, Prévost, Michéle, Dorner, Sarah
Water research 2019 v.148 pp. 446-458
Clostridium perfringens, Cryptosporidium, Escherichia coli, Giardia, acesulfame potassium, aspartame, caffeine, effluents, indicator species, metabolites, oocysts, parasites, pathogens, sewage, sewage treatment, sewer systems, snowmelt, storms, sucralose, temporal variation, wastewater
Wastewater discharges lead to the deterioration of receiving waters through treated effluents and by-passes, combined and sanitary sewer overflows, and cross-connections to storm sewers. The influence of weather conditions on fecal indicator bacteria, pathogens and wastewater micropollutants on raw and treated sewage concentrations has not been extensively characterized. However, such data are needed to understand the effects of by-pass discharges and incomplete treatment on receiving waters. A water resource recovery facility was monitored for pathogenic parasites (Cryptosporidium oocysts, Giardia cysts), fecal indicator bacteria (Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens), and wastewater micropollutants (caffeine, carbamazepine, 2-hydroxycarbamazepine, acesulfame, sucralose, and aspartame) during 6 events under different weather conditions (snowmelt and trace to 32 mm 2-day cumulative precipitation). Greater intra- and inter-event variability was observed for Giardia, E. coli and C. perfringens than for studied WWMPs. Even with the addition of inflow and infiltration, daily variations dominated concentration trends. Thus, afternoon and early evening were identified as critical times with regards to high concentrations and flows for potential by-pass discharges. Peak concentrations of Giardia were observed during the June wet weather event (1010 cysts/L), with the highest flowrates relative to the mean monthly flowrate. Overall, Giardia, E. coli and C. perfringens concentrations were positively correlated with flowrate (R > 0.32, p < 0.05). In raw sewage samples collected under high precipitation conditions, caffeine, carbamazepine and its metabolite 2-OH-carbamazepine were significantly correlated (p < 0.05) with Giardia, E. coli, and C. perfringens demonstrating that they are useful markers for untreated sewage discharges. Data from the study are needed for estimating peak concentrations discharged from wastewater sources in relation to precipitation or snowmelt events.