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Airborne Microorganisms Emitted from Wastewater Treatment Plant Treating Domestic Wastewater and Meat Processing Industry Wastes

Authors

  • Anna Gotkowska-Płachta,

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Microbiology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Olsztyn–Kortowo, Poland
    • Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Microbiology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, R. Prawocheńskiego Street 1, 10–957 Olsztyn–Kortowo, Poland
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  • Zofia Filipkowska,

    1. Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Microbiology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Olsztyn–Kortowo, Poland
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  • Ewa Korzeniewska,

    1. Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Microbiology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Olsztyn–Kortowo, Poland
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  • Wojciech Janczukowicz,

    1. Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Fisheries, Department of Environment Protection Engineering, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Olsztyn–Kortowo, Poland
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  • Beverly Dixon,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Hayward, CA, USA
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  • Iwona Gołaś,

    1. Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Microbiology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Olsztyn–Kortowo, Poland
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  • Damian Szwalgin

    1. Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Microbiology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Olsztyn–Kortowo, Poland
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Abstract

Experiments were conducted to study the airborne microbial contamination generated by a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Aerosol samples were collected simultaneously, by sedimentation and impact methods, from the area and the surroundings of the WWTP. Total colony forming units (CFUs) of heterotrophic bacteria (HPC), as well as members of the Enterobacteriaceae, staphylococci, enterococci, actinomycetes, and microscopic fungi were determined. Bacterial (HPC) concentrations ranged between 101 and 104 CFU/m3, fungi 0 and 104 CFU/m3. Higher numbers of HPC bacteria in air samples were observed in summer, fungi in autumn. The main emission of microorganisms to atmospheric air was from the mechanical sewage treatment devices of the WWTP. The facilities of the biological sewage treatment of the plant did not generate large amounts of bioaerosols. In the air obtained from the premises of the WWTP, 25 species of the Enterobacteriaceae were isolated (Salmonella spp., Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli). At the fence and in the surroundings only Pantoea spp. were identified. This suggests that the sewage bacteria were mainly discharged in the area of the WWTP. The presence of enteric bacteria, especially Enterobacteriaceae reflects the level of air pollution with bioaerosols from sewage and is an important factor during monitoring the quality of the air around WWTPs.

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