Assessment of virus removal by managed aquifer recharge at three full-scale operations

Walter Q. Betancourt, Masaaki Kitajima, Alexandre D. Wing, Julia Regnery, Jörg E. Drewes, Ian L. Pepper, Charles P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) systems such as riverbank filtration and soil-aquifer treatment all involve the use of natural subsurface systems to improve the quality of recharged water (i.e. surface water, stormwater, reclaimed water) before reuse. During MAR, water is either infiltrated via basins, subsurface injected or abstracted from wells adjacent to rivers. The goal of this study was to assess the removal of selected enteric viruses and a potential surrogate for virus removal at three full-scale MAR systems located in different regions of the United States (Arizona, Colorado, and California). Samples of source water (i.e., river water receiving treated wastewater and reclaimed water) before recharge and recovered groundwater at all three sites were tested for adenoviruses, enteroviruses, Aichi viruses and pepper mild mottle virus (PMMoV) by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Samples of groundwater positive for any virus were also tested for the presence of infectious virus by cell culture. PMMoV was the most commonly detected virus in the groundwater samples. Infectious enteric viruses (reovirus) were only detected in one groundwater sample with a subsurface residence time of 5 days. The results suggested that in groundwater with a residence time of greater than 14 days all of the viruses are removed below detection indicating a 1 to greater than 5 log removal depending upon the type of virus. Given its behavior, PMMoV may be suitable to serve as a conservative tracer of enteric virus removal in managed aquifer treatment systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1685-1692
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering
Issue number14
StatePublished - Dec 20 2014


  • Bank filtration
  • groundwater
  • managed aquifer recharge
  • pathogen inactivation
  • pathogen tracers
  • pepper mild mottle virus
  • viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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