The presence of opportunistic pathogens, Legionella spp., L. pneumophila and Mycobacterium avium complex, in South Australian reuse water distribution pipelines

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Water reuse has become increasingly important for sustainable water management. Currently, its application is primarily constrained by the potential health risks. Presently there is limited knowledge regarding the presence and fate of opportunistic pathogens along reuse water distribution pipelines. In this study opportunistic human pathogens Legionella spp., L. pneumophila and Mycobacterium avium complex were detected using real-time polymerase chain reaction along two South Australian reuse water distribution pipelines at maximum concentrations of 105, 103 and 105 copies/mL, respectively. During the summer period of sampling the concentration of all three organisms significantly increased (P < 0.05) along the pipeline, suggesting multiplication and hence viability. No seasonality in the decrease in chlorine residual along the pipelines was observed. This suggests that the combination of reduced chlorine residual and increased water temperature promoted the presence of these opportunistic pathogens.

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