A down-flow hanging sponge (DHS) reactor has been developed as a cost-effective wastewater treatment system that is adaptable to local conditions in low-income countries. A pilot-scale DHS reactor previously demonstrated stable reduction efficiencies for chemical oxygen demand (COD) and ammonium nitrogen over a year at ambient temperature, but the pathogen reduction efficiency of the DHS reactor has yet to be investigated. In the present study, the reduction efficiency of a pilot-scale DHS reactor fed with municipal wastewater was investigated for 10 types of human pathogenic viruses (norovirus GI, GII and GIV, aichivirus, astrovirus, enterovirus, hepatitis A and E viruses, rotavirus, and sapovirus). DHS influent and effluent were collected weekly or biweekly for 337 days, and concentrations of viral genomes were determined by microfluidic quantitative PCR. Aichivirus, norovirus GI and GII, enterovirus, and sapovirus were frequently detected in DHS influent, and the log10reduction (LR) of these viruses ranged from 1.5 to 3.7. The LR values for aichivirus and norovirus GII were also calculated using a Bayesian estimation model, and the average LR (±standard deviation) values for aichivirus and norovirus GII were estimated to be 1.4 (±1.5) and 1.8 (±2.5), respectively. Quantitative microbial risk assessment was conducted to calculate a threshold reduction level for norovirus GII that would be required for the use of DHS effluent for agricultural irrigation, and it was found that LRs of 2.6 and 3.7 for norovirus GII in the DHS effluent were required in order to not exceed the tolerable burden of disease at 10−4and 10−6disability-adjusted life years loss per person per year, respectively, for 95% of the exposed population during wastewater reuse for irrigation.
- Down-flow hanging sponge reactor
- Human pathogenic virus
- Microfluidic quantitative PCR
- Quantitative microbial risk assessment
- Wastewater reclamation and reuse