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Parasitological contamination with eggs Ascaris spp., Trichuris spp. and Toxocara spp. of dehydrated municipal sewage sludge in Poland

Zdybel, Jolanta, Karamon, Jacek, Dąbrowska, Joanna, Różycki, Mirosław, Bilska-Zając, Ewa, Kłapeć, Teresa, Cencek, Tomasz
Environmental pollution 2019 v.248 pp. 621-626
Ascaris, Toxocara, Trichuris, eggs, electrolytes, intestines, parasites, sewage sludge, sewage treatment, viability, Poland
The objective of the present study was to evaluate the contamination of sewage sludge produced by municipal waste treatment plants in Poland by viable eggs of intestinal parasites of the genera Ascaris, Toxocara and Trichuris (ATT). Ninety-two municipal, mechanical-biological sewage treatment plants located within Poland were selected. These plants belonged to types of agglomerations: group 0 (large), group 1 (medium), group 2 (smaller) and group 3 (small). Samples were collected at the final stage of sewage treatment after the addition of flocculent to sludge, followed by dehydration. The samples were examined by a method adjusted to examine sewage sludge dehydrated using polyelectrolytes. The viability of the isolated eggs was evaluated based on incubation in a moist chamber. Live eggs of intestinal nematodes were found in 99% of samples. Most samples were contaminated by the eggs of Ascaris spp. (95%) and Toxocara spp. (96%). However, Trichuris spp. eggs were detected in 60% of samples. The mean number of eggs in 1 kg of dry mass (eggs/kg d.m.) was 5600 for Ascaris, 3700 for Toxocara and 1100 for Trichuris. The highest number of ATT eggs was detected in samples from sewage treatment plants located in south-eastern and central Poland. The highest number of ATT eggs was found in sewage sludge produced in large sewage treatment plants (agglomeration Groups 0 and 1), with mean values of 15,000 and 8900 eggs/kg d.m. The present study is the first parasitological investigation conducted on a large number of samples (92 samples) taken from various types of municipal sewage treatment plants located throughout Poland (16 regions) after the common introduction of polyelectrolytes during sewage sludge dehydration. The results of this study indicate that sludge produced in municipal sewage treatment plants is highly contaminated with parasite eggs.