Pathogen Transport and Fate During Subsurface Infiltration: Integrated Laboratory and Field Study

EPA Grant Number: R829013
Title: Pathogen Transport and Fate During Subsurface Infiltration: Integrated Laboratory and Field Study
Investigators: Brusseau, Mark , Blanford, William , Gerba, Charles P.
Institution: University of Arizona
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Project Period: September 1, 2001 through August 31, 2004 (Extended to August 31, 2005)
Project Amount: $519,725
RFA: Drinking Water (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Drinking Water , Water

Description:

The potential exposure of humans to pathogens in potable water supplies is a significant human health issue. One of the major factors influencing exposure risk is the transport and fate behavior of the pathogens in subsurface systems. A review of the literature shows that limited research has been performed on the subsurface transport and fate behavior of Cryptospordium parvum oocysts, Giardia muris cysts, and Microsporidium Encephalitozoon intestinales spores. In addition, cryptospordium and microsporidium have been shown to be resistant to chlorination, which is the primary water treatment method in the U.S. Thus, although these pathogens are found in the environment, the processes that control their transport and fate from surface waters into groundwater are poorly understood.

The overall goal of the proposed research is to examine the transport and fate of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts, Giardia muris cysts, and Microsporidium Encephalitozoon intestinales spores during subsurface infiltration (e.g. riverbank filtration, effluent recharge). The specific objectives are:

1. Investigate processes influencing transport and fate of the target pathogens in model systems.
2. Investigate the transport and fate of target pathogens under the unsaturated conditions present during water infiltration events.
3. Investigate the transport and fate of the target pathogens in a complex field system.

Approach:

To accomplish our goal, we propose to conduct a series of laboratory, field, and modeling experiments to characterize the processes influencing the transport and fate of these pathogens during infiltration of effluent through subsurface systems. This research will address:

1. the relationship between water content and pathogen movement.
2. the influence of water quality (water chemistry) on pathogen transport.
3. pathogen transport and fate under controlled intermediate and field scales.
4. mathematical models for simulating the transport of the various pathogens within complex subsurface systems

Expected Results:

The results of this research will enhance our understanding of the transport and fate of the target pathogens in subsurface systems. This information will help improve risk assessments of pathogen occurrence in water supplies. The results of this research will also provide information useful for evaluating the efficacy of in-situ filtration for pathogen removal.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 9 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 5 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

pathogens, infiltration, vadose zone, groundwater, soil, human health, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Fate & Transport, Risk Assessments, Physical Processes, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Drinking Water, Groundwater remediation, fate and transport, monitoring, pathogens, microbial risk assessment, human health effects, encephalitozoon, chlorination, exposure and effects, exposure, other - risk assessment, modeling, human exposure, treatment, infiltration, cryptosporidium , encephalitozoon intestinalis, mobility, water quality, drinking water contaminants, Giardia, microsporidia, drinking water treatment, human health risk

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final Report