Assessment of the biological quality of raw and treated effluents from three sewage treatment plants in the Western Cape, South Africa
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The aim of this study was to compare the water quality of raw wastewater and treated sewage effluents from three different sewage treatment plants in the Western Cape, South Africa. The treatment plants investigated are on the same river system. Sewage treatment plant 1 and 2 use older technologies, while sewage treatment plant 3 has been upgraded and new technologies (membrane bioreactor) were incorporated in the treatment processes. The first objective was to determine the occurrence of total coliforms, Escherichia coli (E. coli) and fluoroquinolone and sulfamethoxazole antibiotic residues in raw wastewater and treated sewage effluents. Bacteria in treated sewage effluents can result in diseases such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, and typhoid upon exposure. A chromogenic test was used to screen for coliforms and E. coli. Enzyme linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA) were used to quantitate antibiotic residues (fluoroquinolones and sulfamethoxazole) in raw wastewater and treated sewage effluents. This study showed that bacteria are present in raw wastewater and residual bacteria are released with treated sewage effluents from sewage treatment plants.
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