IMR Press / FBE / Volume 3 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.2741/E333

Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.


Dispersion of Legionella-containing aerosols from a biological treatment plant, Norway

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1 Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), P. O. Box 25, N-2027 Kjeller, Norway
2 Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), Suffield, Box 4000, Medicine Hat, Alberta, T1A 8K6, Canada
3 Borregaard Ind. Ltd., P. O. Box 162, N-1701 Sarpsborg, Norway

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Front. Biosci. (Elite Ed) 2011, 3(4), 1300–1309;
Published: 1 June 2011

Legionella was detected in aeration ponds (biological treatment plant) at Borregaard Ind. Ltd., Norway, and in air samples harvested directly above these ponds. Since 2005, three outbreaks of legionellosis occurred within a 10 km radius from this plant. This work addresses the dispersion patterns of Legionella-containing particles by characterizing the aerosol plume emitted from these ponds (outbreak source) < 500 meters using wind-tunnel measurements, CFD simulations, and real-life measurements. The most abundant particles directly over the ponds were < 6 and >15 µm. The results showed that the aerosol plume remained narrow; 180 meters wide at 350 meters downwind of the ponds, and that 2 and 18 µm aerosols were mainly deposited in the vicinity of the ponds ( 150 - 200 meters). Furthermore, the maximum aerosol concentration level appeared 5-10 meters above ground level and the maximum concentration 500 meters downwind was approximately 2% of the concentration level directly above the ponds. Our study demonstrates the strength of combining modeling with real-life aerosol analyses increasing the understanding of dispersion of airborne (pathogenic) microorganisms.

Biological Treatment Plant
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