Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Environmental Health Sciences

First Advisor

Robert Norman


While current technologies have inadvertently resulted in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) becoming major sources of global antibiotic resistance gene (ARG) dissemination, wastewater can be leveraged to provide vital community-level health information. This project examined both of these aspects through wastewater-based surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 and metagenomic analysis of specific ARGs collected from both activated sludge and bioaerosols. In this study, we investigated treatment steps between the influent and final treated effluent to identify the point at which viral RNA is below detection. Additionally, we examined air surrounding high turbulence treatment steps to test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in WWTP-generated bioaerosols. At the same time, we conducted a statewide SARS-CoV-2 monitoring program in order to investigate the potential for wastewater to set predictive trends of expected clinical cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina. A metagenomics approach using DNA shotgun sequencing, metagenome assembly, and (ARG) annotation was used to examine seasonal patterns in the abundance of mobile colistin resistance (mcr) and extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL) gene variants in bioaerosols and liquid sludge at three wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) to determine the contributions of WWTPs to the global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) pandemic.


© 2024, Mirza Isanovic

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024