Models that predict sunlight inactivation rates of bacteria are valuable tools for predicting the fate of pathogens in recreational waters and designing natural wastewater treatment systems to meet disinfection goals. We developed biological weighting function (BWF)-based numerical models to estimate the endogenous sunlight inactivation rates of E. coli and enterococci. BWF-based models allow the prediction of inactivation rates under a range of environmental conditions that shift the magnitude or spectral distribution of sunlight irradiance (e.g., different times, latitudes, water absorbances, depth). Separate models were developed for laboratory strain bacteria cultured in the laboratory and indigenous organisms concentrated directly from wastewater. Wastewater bacteria were found to be 5-7 times less susceptible to full-spectrum simulated sunlight than the laboratory bacteria, highlighting the importance of conducting experiments with bacteria sourced directly from wastewater. The inactivation rate models fit experimental data well and were successful in predicting the inactivation rates of wastewater E. coli and enterococci measured in clear marine water by researchers from a different laboratory. Additional research is recommended to develop strategies to account for the effects of elevated water pH on predicted inactivation rates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry