How We “See” Pathogens: Using Better Indicators to Detect Pathogen Presence

The ability to detect the presence of microbial pathogens and the resulting health risks in biosolids is a significant issue confronting the wastewater industry. Ideally, water resource recovery facilities should be able to monitor for specific pathogens in biosolids. Since it is almost impossible to detect and quantify the presence of all possible pathogens in waste matrices, there is a compelling need to identify a suite of indicators that can be used to predict the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in biosolids.  

This webcast will cover:

  •  The levels of specific pathogens and surrogate indicator organisms that were found during a two year study across warm and cool seasons and from selected locations across the U.S. 
  •  The 16S pyrosequencing (non-culture based) analysis of bacterial DNA sequences that were present in the raw wastewater samples and the time-temperature relationships of selected wastewater indicators and pathogens.  
  •  Parasites in wastewater – from the very common Giardia, to the rare pork tapeworm egg. If they are in the sludge, their numbers will be reduced with virtual total elimination in Class A sludges. If they are in the effluents, they are probably leaving the plants fairly unscathed by most treatments. 
  • The role of the Pathogenic Equivalency Committee (PEC) and EPA’s Method Development process for pathogen and indicators that are required for 503 regulations.   


  • Suresh D. Pillai, PhD, Director, National Center for Electron Beam Research, Texas A&M University          
  • Dwight D. Bowman, PhD, DACVM (Hon), Professor of Parasitology, Cornell University  
  • Laura Boczek, Microbiologist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  
  • Kari Fitzmorris Brisolara, ScD, Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Health Sciences Center, Louisiana State University (Moderator) 

Credit Information:

There will be 2.0 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) offered for this webcast. Please check with your state accreditation agency to determine if you qualify.