The transport of human adenovirus, nanoparticles, and PRD1 and MS2 bacteriophages was tested in fine granular limestone aquifer material taken from a borehole at a managed aquifer recharge site in Adelaide, South Australia. Comparison of transport and removal of virus surrogates with the pathogenic virus is necessary to understand the differences between the virus and surrogate. Because experiments using pathogenic viruses cannot be done in the field, laboratory tests using flow-through soil columns were used. Results show that PRD1 is the most appropriate surrogate for adenovirus in an aquifer dominated by calcite material but not under high ionic strength or high pH conditions. It was also found that straining due to size and the charge of the colloid were not dominant removal mechanisms in this system. Implications of this study indicate that a certain surrogate may not represent a specific pathogen solely based on similar size, morphology, and/or surface charge. Moreover, if a particular surrogate is representative of a pathogen in one aquifer system, it may not be the most appropriate surrogate in another porous media system. This was apparent in the inferior performance of MS2 as a surrogate, which is commonly used in virus transport studies.
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