Removal of Cryptosporidium by wastewater treatment processes: a review

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite that infects humans and various animal species. The environmental stability and the low infectious dose of Cryptosporidium facilitate its transmission by water and food. Discharge of untreated wastewater may result in waterborne or foodborne Cryptosporidium outbreaks, therefore a suitable treatment may prevent its dissemination. Most studies on the prevalence of Cryptosporidium oocysts in wastewater have reported a concentration range between 10 and 200 oocysts/L and a prevalence of 6 to 100%. Activated sludge has been found to be ineffective for the removal of Cryptosporidium oocysts. Stabilization ponds and constructed wetlands are efficient for the reduction of Cryptosporidium from wastewater, especially when the retention time is longer than 20 days at suitable sunlight and temperature. High rate filtration and chlorine disinfection are inefficient for the reduction of Cryptosporidium from effluents, whereas ultrafiltration and UV irradiation were found to be very efficient for the reduction of Cryptosporidium oocysts. Adequate tertiary treatment may result in high quality effluent with low risk of Cryptosporidium for unrestricted irrigation and other non-potable applications.

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