University of Tehran

Alternative microbial indicators of faecal pollution: current perspective

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During the early history of various countries, epidemics of diseases such as typhoid, shigellosis, cholera and amoebiasis were common threats. It was subsequently determined that the primary source of these pathogens was sewage. The environmental bodies receives a significant amount of treated, partially treated or untreated sewage, which severely depletes the water quality of these water bodies used for drinking, irrigation and other recreational purposes. The wastewater effluents are the major source of fecal contamination of aquatic ecosystems and cause severe disturbance in their functioning. A major goal of wastewater reclamation facilities is to reduce pathogen load in order to decrease public health risks associated ith exposure. Despite the fact that raw wastewater also carries large quantities and a wide variety of fecal microorganisms (including pathogens for humans). The reduction of microbiological pollution in wastewater has not been a priority so far in developing country and at present there are no directives regarding the microbiological quality of treated wastewater. However, the direct and indirect exposure of population to sewage is of primary concern (Koivunen et al., 2003). The increasing demography and the growing water demand has lead to a global deterioration of surface waters quality and in areas facing a water shortage, more and more reclaimed water will be used in the future for irrigation of parks and crops. Thus, the need to determine the microbiological safety of these waters by analyzing them for the presence of specific pathogens and the increasing efforts are devoted at present to assessing the treatment efficiency of wastewater treatment facilities for removal of indicator microbes of fecal origin (George et al., 2002; Kazmi et al., 2006).

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