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In this work microbiological air pollution at several commune sewage treatment plants (capacity up to 15,000 PE) was investigated. The bioreactors in all plants had a covered construction. The air samples were taken indoors as well as outdoors (both on the windward and leeward side) during different seasons. The samples were collected using the collision method. The presence of indicator organisms in the samples was determined according to the Polish Standards. Identification of individual indicators was performed on solid selective-differentiating substrates. To verify the presence of bacteria from Salmonella, Shigella, coliforms and enterococci species, the colonies observed on the MacConkey substrate were then sifted onto SS and Endo substrates. At all facilities (with one exception) the average CFU for the total number of bacteria and fungi did not exceed 1000/m3, which is the limit set by the Polish Standards for a pollution-free atmospheric air. Bacteria and fungi concentrations, observed at windward and leeward sides of all plants, were relatively low (<100 CFU/m3 and <1000 CFU/m3, respectively) and comparable. A sewage collection point had only a slight impact on the bioaerosol emission. The concentration of microorganisms in the immediate vicinity of covered reactors (aeration chambers) was rather low and remained below the limits sets by the Polish Standards at three facilities. The CFU of individual indicators, measured in rooms accessible for the personnel, was comparable to the CFU in technological rooms. However some indicators, e.g. a number of Actinomycetes, were significantly higher and reached >100 CFU/m3, which means significant air pollution. Similarly, the CFU of hemolytic bacteria had nonzero values. The only place where higher concentrations of bioaerosol were found was the centrifuge room, where digested sludge was dewatered. The number of fungi stayed below the limits there, but the amount of heterotrophic and hemolytic bacteria exceeded the limits and reached the values of ~10000 CFU/m3 and 800 CFU/m3, respectively; it means that the personnel working in this area is exposed to microbiological agents.
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