Going Viral: Working Towards Virus Risk Management In Wastewater Treatment Systems

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Studies have shown that viruses cause the majority of gastrointestinal illnesses associated with recreational activities in surface waters impacted by treated and untreated human sources. In the US, enteric viruses have been documented as the leading causative agents of waterborne disease outbreaks in recreational water settings. It has been suggested that effective treatment of wastewater to reduce the concentrations of infectious virus particles could reduce public health risks in receiving water.

As consumers are more frequently - directly or indirectly - exposed to wastewater and its treatment by-products, through reuse, recreation activities, shellfish, biosolids, and food, further incorporating virus risk management into our wastewater treatment, monitoring and regulatory frameworks may help improve public health protection. However, given the capital costs associated with improving viral reduction at some wastewater treatment plants and the uncertainty of the actual disease burden associated with viruses from treated effluents, further stakeholder involvement is required to ensure that future wastewater treatment improvements maximize the public and environmental health benefits given the limited funds available.


  • Charles Gerba, University of Arizona
  • Kyle Bibby, University of Notre Dame
  • Thomas Worley Morse, Hazen and Sawyer
  • Naoko Munakata (moderator), LA County Sanitation Districts

There will be 1.5 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) offered for this webcast. Please check with your state accreditation agency to determine if you qualify.