A risk assessment of emerging pathogens of concern in the land application of biosolids

C. P. Gerba, I. L. Pepper, L. F. Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Since the development of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's 503 biosolids Rule, which includes treatment requirements to reduce the threat of pathogen transmission, many new pathogens have been recognized which could be transmitted by biosolids. A risk analysis was performed to assess which emerging pathogens would be most likely to survive treatments required for Class B biosolids before land application. The literature was reviewed on the resistance of emerging pathogens to temperature and other environmental factors to assess their probability of surviving various biosolids treatment processes. In addition existing information on occurrence in biosolids and dose response models for each pathogen was reviewed. It was concluded that adenoviruses and hepatitis A virus are the most thermally resistant viruses and can survive for prolonged periods in the environment. The protozoan parasites microsporidia and Cyclospora were unlikely to survive the temperatures achieved in anaerobic digestion and do not survive well under low moisture conditions. A risk model was used to assess the risk of infection and illness from enteric viruses after application of class B biosolids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2002


  • Biosolids
  • Echovirus
  • Enteric viruses
  • Land application
  • Risk assessment
  • Rotavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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