Persistence of poliovirus 1 in soil and on vegetables grown in soil previously flooded with inoculated sewage sludge or effluent.


Land disposal of sewage sludge and effluent is becoming a common practice in the United States. The fertilizer content and humus value of such wastes are useful for agricultural purposes, and the recycling of sewage onto the land eliminates many of our stream pollution problems. The potential exists for crops grown in such irrigated soil to be contaminated by viruses that may be present in the sewage. Studies were initiated to determine viral persistence in soil and on crops grown under natural conditions in field plots that had been flooded to a depth of 1 inch (2.54 cm) with poliovirus 1-inoculated sewage wastes. Lettuce and radishes were planted in sludge- or effluent-flooded soil. In one study, the vegetables were planted 1 day before flooding, and in another they were planted 3 days after the plots were flooded. Survival of poliovirus 1 in soil irrigated with inoculated sewage sludge and effluent was determined during two summer growing seasons and one winter period. The longest period of survival was during the winter, when virus was detected after 96 days. During the summer, the longest survival period was 11 days. Poliovirus 1 was recovered from the mature vegetables 23 days after flooding of the plots had ceased. Lettuce and radishes are usually harvested 3 to 4 weeks after planting.

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