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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 9 No. 2, p. 261-265
    Received: Sept 11, 1978

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The Influence of Simulated Rainfall on Residual Bacteria and Virus on Grass Treated with Sewage Sludge1

  1. K. W. Brown,
  2. S. G. Jones and
  3. K. C. Donnelly2



The influence of simulated rainfall on the survival of fecal coliforms and coliphage on bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) and rhodesgrass (Cholris gayana Kunth.) following applications of liquid digested sludge containing varying amounts of solids was investigated using the most probable number and plaque count techniques, respectively. The numbers of coliphage on the grass decreased rapidly with drying time and at 48 hours after application none were detected in any of the treatments. Rainfall was effective in decreasing the coliphage levels, both immediately after sludge application and after a period of drying.

Fecal coliform counts were decreased only slightly during rainfall, and the timing of rainfall in relation to drying time appeared to have little influence on residual populations. The survival of fecal coliforms on grass which did not receive rainfall was dependent on the climatic conditions to which the grass was exposed and much less dependent on the initial population of bacteria or the species of grass. The present study indicates that fecal coliforms can survive on pasture grasses for periods of 2 to 3 weeks after sewage sludge application and that rainfall will have little influence on the length of survival.

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