Enteric viruses are of great importance in wastewater due to their high excretion from infected individuals, low removal in wastewater treatment processes, long-time survival in the environment, and low infectious dose. Among the other viruses, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) surveillance in wastewater systems has received particular attention as a result of the current COVID-19 epidemic. Viruses adhering to solid particles in wastewater treatment processes will end up as sewage sludge, and therefore insufficient sludge treatment may result in viral particles dissemination into the environment. Here, we review data on viruses’ presence in sewage sludge, their detection and concentration methods, and information on human health issues associated with sewage sludge land application. We used combinations of the following keywords in the Scopus, Web of Science (WOS), and PubMed databases, which were published between 2010 and January 21th, 2022: sludge (sewage sludge, biosolids, sewage solids, wastewater solids) and virus (enteric virus, viral particles, viral contamination, SARS-CoV-2, coronavirus). The sources were searched twice, once with and then without the common enteric virus names (adenovirus, rotavirus, norovirus, enterovirus, hepatitis A virus). Studies suggest adenovirus and norovirus as the most prevalent enteric viruses in sewage sludge. Indeed, other viruses include rotavirus, hepatitis A virus, and enterovirus were frequently found in sewage sludge samples. Untreated biological sludge and thickened sludge showed more viral contamination level than digested sludge and the lowest prevalence of viruses was reported in lime stabilized sludge. The review reveals that land application of sewage sludge may pose viral infection risks to people due to accidently ingestion of sludge or intake of crops grown in biosolids amended soil. Moreover, contamination of groundwater and/or surface water may occur due to land application of sewage sludge.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.