Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2021NV002G

Use of Viral and Genetic Marker Surrogates to Assess Transport of Human Enteric Viruses in Water Reclamation Systems

Institute: Nevada
USGS Grant Number:
Year Established: 2021 Start Date: 2021-09-01 End Date: 2023-08-31
Total Federal Funds: $250,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $250,000

Principal Investigators: Rishi Parashar

Abstract: Enteric viruses are present in surface and reclaimed water, with highest densities found in raw wastewater. Enteric viruses represent a diverse group of viruses including picornaviruses, rotaviruses, and noroviruses (nonenveloped RNA virus) as well as adenoviruses and polyomaviruses (double-stranded DNA virus.) Current monitoring is based on the detection of bacterial viruses, male-specific (MS2) and somatic coliphages primarily because of their size and presence in high number. However, their low occurrence in human feces and other aquatic environments despite their frequent detection in wastewater indicates that they might not be ideal surrogates for human enteric viruses. This study aims to develop molecular assays for the detection of host specific viral pathogens through highly stable genetic markers that do not change significantly with time or environmental conditions, and to assess the suitability of these genetic marker surrogates in potable reuse water treatment trains and soil and aquifer treatment for indirect potable reuse. Performing metagenomic analysis to define viral diversity (virome analysis) through highly efficient next generation sequencing analysis will help identify the full virome as well as viral signature genes in the wastewater/reclaimed water. The efficiency of viral surrogate detection will be tested in laboratory scale batch and column experiments, and in wastewater treatment units. Data generated from the lab scale experiments will be modeled for defining treatment efficacies in field scale infiltration at an operational water reclamation facility.