With dwindling water resources due to drought and other pressures, water utilities are seeking to tap into alternative water sources as a means to improve water sustainability. Reclaimed water consists of treated wastewater and is widely used for non-potable purposes, such as irrigation, both agricultural and recreational. However, the reclaimed water distribution system can be subject to substantial regrowth of microorganisms, including opportunistic pathogens, even following rigorous disinfection. Factors that can influence regrowth include temperature, organic carbon levels, disinfectant type, and the time transported (i.e., water age) in the system. One opportunistic pathogen (OP) that is critical to understanding microbial activity in both reclaimed and drinking water distribution systems is Acanthamoeba. In order to better understand the potential for this amoeba to proliferate in reclaimed water systems and influence other OPs, a simulated reclaimed water distribution system was studied. The objective of this study was to compare the prevalence of Acanthamoeba and one of its endosymbionts, Legionella, across varying assimilable organic carbon (AOC) levels, temperatures, disinfectants, and water ages in a simulated reclaimed water distribution system. The results of the study showed that cooler temperatures, larger water age, and chlorine conditions yielded the lowest detection of Acanthamoeba gene copies per mL or cm2 for bulk water and biofilm samples, respectively.
- Acanthamoeba Prevalence in a Simulated Reclaimed Water Distribution System