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Effect of disinfection on the propagation of antibiotic resistance in wastewater
Antibiotic resistance has been a major concern of the health care industry since the early 1950's. Urban water systems have been identified as a potential vector for the propagation of antibiotic resistance. A majority of the previous work done on antibiotic resistance in wastewater treatment facilities focused on the effect of biological treatment. The present study examined the effect of chlorination and ultraviolet disinfection on antibiotic resistance. Non-disinfected samples were collected from the Buffalo Sewer Authority (BSA) Bird Island Facility and disinfected at the laboratory using varying doses of chlorine and ultraviolet (LIV) disinfectants. Organisms concentrations were measured using a direct plating method. Antibiotic resistance was evaluated by plating out samples on agar containing 0, 5 and 10 ppm tetracycline. The change in percent resistance to 5 ppm tetracycline for the chlorine doses applied ranged from -19.6% to 6.4% and for 10 ppm ranged from -4.4 to 3.O. For the applied UV doses the change in percent resistance to 5 ppm ranged from -26.1% to 9.3% and for 10 ppm ranged from - 6.7 to 6.6. The following conclusions were made based on the results: organisms resistant to tetracycline are not statistically significantly more or less susceptible to disinfection by chlorine or UV; chlorine disinfection will decrease the percent antibiotic resistant with increasing dose, and UV disinfection will increase the percent antibiotic resistant with increasing dose at 10 ppm tetracycline.