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A large number of infectious particles including biocolloids (e.g. bacteria and viruses) can be found in the subsurface suspended in the aqueous phase or adsorbed onto other colloid surfaces and/or the solid matrix. Colloids are particles with diameter size in the range 1 nm to 10 μm and they include organic or inorganic matter such as pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria and viruses), humic substances, clays and metal oxides. In order to estimate the potential health risk associated with aquifers contaminated by various biocolloids, good understanding of biocolloid fate and transport in the subsurface is necessary.

The transport of biocolloids in surface and ground waters is relatively complex because is affected by temperature, water chemistry, clay concentration, metal oxides, water saturation, and the presence of other microorganisms. The transport of biocolloids and pollutants is also affected by the presence of diluted organic substances and colloids as well as by the flow hydrodynamic conditions.

Climatic changes observed during the last 50 years affect strongly the migration of biocolloids through air and water. Recently, environmental pollution due to the existence of pathogenic microorganisms, wastes, inorganic matter, pesticides and radioactive components has increased. The most common diseases that affect human health, which are transmitted from waters polluted by bacteria are: (a) typhoid fever, (b) cholera, (c) bacterial dysentery, and (d) enteritis. Water polluted from viruses may cause: (a) infectious hepatitis and (b) polyomelitis.


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