Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Willie F. Harper, Jr., PhD.


As a medical waste product, the MS2 bacteriophage has been discharged into wastewater distribution and treatment networks. To categorize its impact to suspended growth treatment methods, this research investigated the effect of the MS2 bacteriophage on activated sludge through a series of respirometry tests. The effects of MS2 bacteriophage at a concentration of 3.2x108 PFU/mL were assessed by determining peak O2 consumption, cumulative O2 consumption, molar CO2/O2 ratios, and shape factors. None of the MS2 samples caused statistically significant effects on the peak or cumulative O2 consumption. The molar CO2/O2 ratios were also not substantially impacted. The skewness and first moment of the area were not significantly impacted by the introduction of the MS2 virus. MS2 bacteriophage did not inhibit chemical oxygen demand (COD) or nitrogen removal. When viewed at 100X amplification and at multiple wavelengths, the MS2 virus appeared to both remain free floating and to adsorb to activated sludge flocculated particles. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate the effect of MS2 bacteriophage on activated sludge activity and the first to use dual fluorescent labeling to examine a mixed consortia of activated sludge microorganisms and MS2. Overall, the results illustrate that the MS2 bacteriophage is unlikely to cause short-term interference with primary biological treatment at an activated sludge treatment plant.

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