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Microbial source tracking of fecal pollution in Hamilton harbour: preliminary investigation of beach closures

Microbial source tracking (MST) techniques are being applied to   better understand the source of fecal contamination responsible for   beach closures in Hamilton harbour. Antimicrobial resistance   analysis (ARA) and rep-PCR fingerprinting of E. coli are being   investigated in parallel. A library of >3    E. coli isolates was   collected in 2  3 from beachwater and nearby fecal sources including   municipal wastewater effluents, CSO tanks, dogs, cats, gulls, ducks,   and Canada geese. A preliminary ARA screen of 462 isolates found   resistance to 14 antibiotics (4 concentrations each) was generally   more prevalent in E. coli from municipal wastewater sources than   from bird feces or surface waters around Hamilton. A discriminant   function provided a 68% average rate of correct classification   (crossvalidation) for discriminating E. coli from wastewater and   bird feces. When this discriminant function was applied to   classifying 57 E. coli isolates collected from beachwater at two   different times, 94% and 63% of E. coli were classified as more   similar to those from bird feces. While these preliminary results   were consistent with observations of the prevalence of birds and   their fecal deposits in the beach area, more thorough analysis of a   larger number of E. coli isolates is needed for MST purposes. Work   is ongoing to test the temporal and geographic stability of E. coli   libraries and to better understand limitations of using E. coli for   MST applications.    (Lake Ontario); (Hamilton harbour); (MST); (BST); (microbial source   tracking); (bacterial source tracking); (antimicrobial resistance   analysis); (ARA); (rep-PCR fingerprinting); (polymerase chain   reaction); (E. coli); (Escherichia coli); (beach closures); (beach   closure); (beach closings); (beach closing)

In progress
Start Date
End Date
Scope of Study
Field Investigation
Laboratory Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Ontario
State Province
Resource Being Monitored
Human Health
Program Drivers
Remedial Actions Plan (RAP)
Beneficial Use Impairment Assessments
Beach Closings
Annex Numbers
Pollution from Non-Point Sources
Remedial Action Plans and Lakewide Management Plans
  • Annex Numbers
    Annex Numbers
    Pollution from Non-Point Sources
    Remedial Action Plans and Lakewide Management Plans
  • Annex 17

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