Virus removal from wastewater in a multispecies subsurface-flow constructed wetland

Juan A. Vidales, Charles P. Gerba, Martin M. Karpiscak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Virus removal was studied in a multispecies subsurface-flow constructed wetland. Tracer studies and a virus survival test were conducted using bromide and bacteriophage PRD1 that were simultaneously added into a 6-year-old gravel-filled wetland. The estimated dimensionless variance and the observed bromide breakthrough curve suggest a plug-flow reactor with some dispersion. Most of the PRD1 was removed during the first 4 days; however, the PRD1 background concentration was not reached by the end of the study. Average bacteriophage removal was 98.8%, whereas bromide mass recovery was 75%. The removal rate of PRD1 was estimated to be -1.17 d-1; in contrast, its inactivation rate in situ for a 12.4-day period was -0.16 d-1. Apparently, virus removal is governed by an initial irreversible attachment followed by a comparatively long inactivation period. This study suggests that a subsurface-flow wetland can decrease the virus load by approximately 99% with a 5.5-day detention time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-245
Number of pages8
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003


  • Bacteriophage
  • Bacteriophage PRD1
  • Bromide
  • Constructed wetland
  • Subsurface-flow wetland
  • Tracer study
  • Viruses
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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