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Keywords:

  • decay;
  • enteric virus;
  • groundwater;
  • nutrients;
  • oxygen;
  • temperature

Abstract

Aims: This study was undertaken to further understand the processes affecting the persistence of enteric viruses in groundwater.

Methods and Results: Varying temperature, oxygen and nutrient levels were tested in the presence and absence of groundwater micro-organisms to determine which of the factors tested had dominant influence on the decay of Escherichia coli, the bacteriophage MS2, poliovirus and coxsackievirus. The results indicated that the most influential factor affecting the decay of the viruses and E. coli was the presence of groundwater micro-organisms. The results also implied that temperature, the presence of oxygen and nutrient levels indirectly influence viruses and E. coli decay by influencing the activity of the groundwater micro-organisms.

Conclusions:E. coli and the viruses displayed maximum decay under aerobic conditions, at 28°C without the addition of nutrients in the presence of groundwater micro-organisms.

Significance and Impact of the Study: The results suggest that if the mode of action of the groundwater micro-organisms could be determined then the decay of viral pathogens in recharged waters may be more easily predicted.