Presentation Title

Quantification of Sewage Pollution Using Microbial Source Tracking Technique at an Urban Beach

Location

Atrium

Session Format

Poster Presentation

Research Area Topic:

Natural & Physical Sciences - Environmental Sciences & Sustainability

Co-Presenters, Co- Authors, Co-Researchers, Mentors, or Faculty Advisors

Sara Benevente, Asli Aslan

Abstract

Tybee Island, Georgia, is an urban beach located outside Savannah with the population increasing during the swimming season of Memorial Day to Labor Day. The source of microbiological pollution at beaches may originate from sewage, stormwater, wildlife, and livestock and cause waterborne illnesses such as gastrointestinal illnesses, skin, ear, and eye infections. USEPA has recommended the use of enterococci as the fecal indicator bacteria for monitoring microbial pollution at marine beaches. However, this method takes more than 24 hours to report the results and does not address the sources of pollution. Microbial source tracking is a technique that targets the source by quantifying the microorganism of interest to match the source of pollution. This technique is based on quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and capable of detecting any pathogen of interest within six hours upon sample collection with high sensitivity.

In this study, we identified the enterococci levels at five beaches on Tybee Island. Samples were collected monthly during winter and bi-weekly during summer. Culturable enterococci were detected by Enterolert® (IDEXX, Westbrook, ME). Sewage pollution was targeted using a human specific qPCR marker (HF183). Results showed that one of the beaches among five was under the influence of the wastewater treatment plant effluent that is discharging nearby the beach. The highest human marker concentrations at this beach were detected in August (120 CCE/100 ml). Enterococci concentrations (269 MPN/100 ml) were in this month were also above the national criteria (104 CFU/100 ml). There was a beach advisory at this month starting from July 27-August 30, 2014. Our results showed that the HF183 marker successfully detects sewage pollution in Tybee beaches. This is the first study that applies microbial source tracking at Georgia. Results of this study will be used to identify the sources and control microbiological pollution to protect swimmers’ health.

Keywords

Microbial source tracking, Fecal indicator bacteria, Enterococci, Recreational water quality criteria, qPCR

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-24-2015 2:45 PM

End Date

4-24-2015 4:00 PM

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Apr 24th, 2:45 PM Apr 24th, 4:00 PM

Quantification of Sewage Pollution Using Microbial Source Tracking Technique at an Urban Beach

Atrium

Tybee Island, Georgia, is an urban beach located outside Savannah with the population increasing during the swimming season of Memorial Day to Labor Day. The source of microbiological pollution at beaches may originate from sewage, stormwater, wildlife, and livestock and cause waterborne illnesses such as gastrointestinal illnesses, skin, ear, and eye infections. USEPA has recommended the use of enterococci as the fecal indicator bacteria for monitoring microbial pollution at marine beaches. However, this method takes more than 24 hours to report the results and does not address the sources of pollution. Microbial source tracking is a technique that targets the source by quantifying the microorganism of interest to match the source of pollution. This technique is based on quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and capable of detecting any pathogen of interest within six hours upon sample collection with high sensitivity.

In this study, we identified the enterococci levels at five beaches on Tybee Island. Samples were collected monthly during winter and bi-weekly during summer. Culturable enterococci were detected by Enterolert® (IDEXX, Westbrook, ME). Sewage pollution was targeted using a human specific qPCR marker (HF183). Results showed that one of the beaches among five was under the influence of the wastewater treatment plant effluent that is discharging nearby the beach. The highest human marker concentrations at this beach were detected in August (120 CCE/100 ml). Enterococci concentrations (269 MPN/100 ml) were in this month were also above the national criteria (104 CFU/100 ml). There was a beach advisory at this month starting from July 27-August 30, 2014. Our results showed that the HF183 marker successfully detects sewage pollution in Tybee beaches. This is the first study that applies microbial source tracking at Georgia. Results of this study will be used to identify the sources and control microbiological pollution to protect swimmers’ health.