Sewage sample collection for bacteriophage isolation


an indian man in sewage (phages can be isolated from sewage)
Sewage sampling

Make sure you have a permit to collect samples in a specific area before you begin. In some cases, the sampling location specified in the permit or chosen by the permittee may be insufficient for collecting a representative wastewater sample. In such cases, the investigator is not bound by permit requirements and may collect a sample at a more representative location. When the permittee and the regulatory agency disagree about the most representative sampling location, both sites should be sampled, and the reason for the disagreement should be documented in the field notes and the inspection or study report. Changes in sampling locations should be recommended and justified to the appropriate permitting authority. 

Bacteriophage isolation sample types


Influent wastewaters are ideally sampled at locations of highly turbulent flow to ensure good mixing; however, the most desirable location is not always accessible. Input wastewater sampling locations that are preferable include:

  1. The upflow siphon following a comminutor (in absence of grit chamber); 
  2. The upflow distribution box following pumping from the main plant wet well; 
  3. Aerated grit chamber; 
  4. Flume throat; 
  5. pump wet well when the pump is operating, or 
  6. downstream of preliminary screening. When possible, influent samples should be collected upstream from sidestream returns.


Effluent samples should be collected at the site specified in the permit, or if no site is specified in the permit, at the most representative site downstream from all entering wastewater streams prior to discharge into the receiving waters. If a conflict exists between the permittee and inspector regarding the source being sampled or the location of the most representative site, Site Selection for Wastewater Sampling. 

Pond and Lagoon 

Sampling Generally, composite effluent wastewater samples should be collected from ponds and lagoons. Even if the ponds or lagoons have long retention times, composite sampling is necessary because ponds and lagoons have the tendency to have flow paths that short circuit, which changes the designed detention time.

How to collect the sample?

The simplest method is to collect sewage water in a sterile falcon tube (45-50ml) and then pour it into a well-labeled borosilicate container (even a falcon tube can work) and tighten the container’s cover to prevent leakage. Transfer the container to the cool box so that it can be transported to the laboratory.

NOTE: Don’t forget to put on PPE as described in detail here

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Last modified: February 27, 2021