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Microbial source tracking: its utility and limitations toward the protection of recreational waters in the Great Lakes Basin

Few studies have followed up the results of fecal source tracking to   quantify resulting gains in water quality. The best evidence   supports taking a multi-tiered approach to source tracking, moving   from general to specific and from less to more expensive. The first   step is intensive surveys using fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), to   target sources spatially and temporally. Once "hot spots" are   identified, then very directed source tracking can be done if   needed, starting with less-expensive methods that identify human   contamination, and continuing to more-expensive ones as needed, to   identify common species, or finally to identify all species.   Companies that offer source-tracking services should be provided   with blind proficiency samples to assess their abilities and   estimate possible benefits, before they are hired. Water quality   standards were established based on epidemiological studies that   measured human health outcomes following recreational exposure to   human-derived fecal contamination. There are no similar studies for   exposure to animal fecal contamination, although it is logical to   assume that the risk from animal fecal contamination is lower. Thus   even if microbial source tracking shows that fecal contamination is   animal-derived, there is usually no way to allow for a higher   permitted level of FIB. Hence the benefits from microbial source   tracking at the present time are only that it allows the source or   sources of fecal contamination to be accurately assigned, located,   and corrected. In some cases this could lead to a reduction in FIB.   In other cases where the source is primarily wildlife and there is   no way to control the wildlife, no immediate water quality benefit   from microbial source tracking will be seen. National environmental   health agencies must take the responsibility to fund the required   epidemiological studies so microbial source tracking can be properly   applied to estimate human health risk.    (microbial source tracking); (MST); (bacterial source tracking);   (BST)

Status
In progress
Type
Project
Start Date
End Date
Researchers
Katherine FieldPrincipal Investigator
Associated with 2 projects
Agencies
Oregon Sea Grant $ 0.00USDEstimates

Funding 2 projects for a total of $0.00
Scope of Study
Literature / Existing Data
Scale of Phenomena
Cellular

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