Document Type

Technical Report

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viruses, bacteriophage, water pollution, septic tanks, soil disposal fields, soil contamination


The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which soil acts as an agent in the transmission of waterborne viruses. Since many waterborne outbreaks of viral diseases have involved small wellwater supplies contaminated by effluents from subsurface wastewater disposal systems, there is a great need for such information. Results of this study show that virus adsorption by soils is greatly affected by the pH, ionic strength, and soil-water ratio of the soil-water system and various soil properties. Also, it is shown that one cannot predict the relative virus adsorbing ability of a particular soil based on the various tests normally used to characterize a soil. It is shown that virus movement through a continuous stratum of common soil under gravity flow conditions and with intermittent dosing should present no health hazard if usual public health practices relating to locating water supply wells are followed. Test results also indicate no greater or lesser movement of virus through soils with a highly polluted water than with a non-polluted water.

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