Kyle Bibby

Kyle Bibby

Yale University, Ph.D.
EREF Scholar 2009

Using Molecular Techniques to Determine the Fate of Pathogens (e.g. viruses) in Landfill Leachates and Source Material

Project Description (while EREF Scholar):
Pathogen transport is a primary operational concern for landfills.  Sources of pathogens in landfills may be extremely varied and include hospital solid waste, municipal solid wastes such as disposable diapers and other fecal wastes, and wastewater solids (biosolids).  Of these, wastewater solids are by far the largest volume nationally (Haas 1996).  Biosolids contain significant concentrations of bacterial, protozoan, and viral pathogens (Viau 2009).  Driven by public concern, current agricultural land application practices for biosolids have come under additional public and governmental scrutiny (National Research Council, 2002).  This pressure has increased the volume of biosolids disposal in municipal landfills.  While providing a land application solution, biosolids disposal in landfills may shift pathogen concern to landfill leachate.

This project focuses on viruses due to their pathogenicity, small size that allows transport in landfills, and their resistance to inactivating environmental forces that makes them ideal candidates as conservative indicators of pathogens in the environment. Recently developed massively paralleled 454 pyrosequencing technologies allow the creation of phylogenetic virus libraries that include greater than 1 million 400 base pair reads.  This technology samples deeper into microbial populations than previously possible, and can therefore identify rare organisms, including viral pathogens.  Through the production of a substantive list of all DNA and RNA viruses present in a sample, use of this technology will provide a comprehensive understanding of the viral pathogen content of landfill leachates.

Expected results of this study are a statistical comparison of virus concentrations, diversity, and infectivity of a landfill receiving biosolids, a landfill not receiving wastewater solids, and biosolids. This work will serve to inform the political and scientific community on the safety of proper disposal of infectious wastes in municipal solid waste landfills.

Haas, C., Anotai, J., Engelbrecht, R., 1996. Monte Carlo assessment of microbial risk associated with landfilling of fecal material. Water Environment Research.  68:7. 1123-1131.
National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land Advancing Standards and Practices.
Viau, E., Peccia, J., 2009. A Survey of Wastewater Indicators and Human Pathogen Genomes in Biosolids Produced by Class A and Class B Stabilization Treatments.  Appl. Env. Micro. 75: 164-174

Kyle began his research career as an undergraduate studying Civil Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated in May 2008. He has now defended his dissertation and earned his PhD in Environmental Engineering at Yale University.  Starting in January 2013, Kyle will be an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.  His research interests include environmental behavior of viruses and using bioinformatic approaches to understand viral diversity and risk. In his free time, Kyle enjoys watching college football and fishing.

Research Publications:
Kyle J. Bibby, Emily J. Viau, Jordan L. Peccia. 454 Pyrosequencing of the 16s rRNA Gene Reveals Pathogen Diversity in Biosolids. Submitted to Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Emily Viau, Tania Paez-Rubio, Kyle J. Bibby, Jordan Peccia “Reducing the risk of infection associated with biosolids land application: new insights on aerosol exposure modeling and pathogen content” In preparation for submission to Environmental Health Perspectives.

Leon S. Downing, Kyle J. Bibby, Kathleen Esposito, Tom Fascianella, Ryujiro Tsuchihashi, and Robert Nerenberg (Accepted).  Nitrogen Removal from Wastewater using the Hybrid Membrane-Biofilm Process (HMBP): Pilot Scale Studies. Water Environment Research.

Chris Ziemba, Kyle J. Bibby, Jordan Peccia. (2009) “Pathogen Inactivation in Anaerobic Digestion: Bench and Field Studies” Northeast Residuals and Biosolids Conference. 11/4-11/5. New Haven, CT.

Leon Downing, Kyle Bibby, Kathleen Esposito, Tom Fascianella, Robert Nerenberg (2008).  Pilot-Scale Testing of the Hybrid Membrane Biofilm Process (HMBP) for Total Nitrogen Removal from Municipal Wastewater.  WEFTEC.  10/18-22/2008.  Chicago, IL.

Robert Nerenberg, Leon Downing, Kyle Bibby, Kathleen Esposito, Tom Fascianella (2008).  A hybrid membrane-biofilm process for concurrent nitrification and denitrification: bench and pilot-scale studies.  IWA North American Membranes Research Conference.  August 2008.  Amherst, MA.

Leon S. Downing, Kyle J. Bibby, Tom Fascianella, Kathleen Esposito, and Robert Nerenberg (2008).  The Hybrid Membrane Biofilm Process for TN Removal from Wastewater: Bench and Pilot Scale Studies.  EWRI World Environmental & Water Resources Congress.  May 2008.  Honolulu, HI.