Virus movement in soil during saturated and unsaturated flow

J. C. Lance, C. P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Virus movement in soil during saturated and unsaturated flow was compared by adding poliovirus to sewage water and applying the water at different rates to a 250-cm-long soil column equipped with ceramic sampler at different depths. Movement of viruses during unsaturated flow of sewage through soil columns was much less than during saturated flow. Viruses did not move below the 40-cm level when sewage water was applied at less than the maximum infiltration rate; virus penetration in columns flooded with sewage was at least 160 cm. Therefore, virus movement in soils irrigated with sewage should be less than in flooded groundwater recharge basins or in saturated soil columns. Management of land treatment systems to provide unsaturated flow through the soil should minimize the depth of virus penetration. Differences in virus movement during saturated and unsaturated flow must be considered in the development of any model used to simulate virus movement in soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-337
Number of pages3
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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