Survival of enteric viruses and indicator bacteria in groundwater

Bruce H. Keswick, Sandy L. Secor, Charles P. Gerba, Irina Cech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Human enteric viruses are believed responsible for numerous disease outbreaks caused by contaminated ground water, but little is known about the survival of these organisms in groundwater. This study compared the ability of several viruses and bacteria to survive in ground water. The organisms were contained in individual survival chambers and exposed to a continuous flow of groundwater from a 275 ft deep domestic well. The survival of the test organisms ranked in order of decreasing decay rates were coliphage f2, rotavirus SA-11, Escherichiacoli, echovirus-1, fecal streptococcus, poliovirus-1, and coxsackievirus B3. Low numbers of bacteria and viruses survived for the 24 day duration of the experiment. These results indicate that enteric viruses are capable of surviving for extended periods in groundwater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-912
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health. Part A: Environmental Science and Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982


  • Groundwater
  • Survival
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution


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