IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Reducing Worker Exposure to Bioaerosols at Wastewater Treatment Plants


Workers responsible for the operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment plants (WTPs) are exposed to biological agents through bioaerosols generated at the different stages of treatment and other activities considered to be at risk. Gastroenteritis and respiratory diseases are reported more frequently among WTP workers than in the general population. Although workers use personal protective equipment to limit their exposure risks, it is desirable to eliminate or reduce bioaerosol production and dispersion by controlling the source.

The efforts being undertaken to reduce drinking water consumption by reusing rainwater, among other things, risk resulting in greater biological concentrations in wastewater to be treated. This situation could increase the risks run by WTP workers. Thus, it is crucial to intervene at the source and identify solutions to reduce the concentration of pathogens and the amount of bioaerosols emitted in WTPs.

This research project will identify factors related to operations and process monitoring and air purification systems that can reduce workers’ exposure to bioaerosols produced by WTPs at the source.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2022-0001
Status: Ongoing
  • Émilie Bédard (Polytechnique Montréal)
  • Caroline Duchaine (Centre de recherche Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec)