Improving water quality in the Hudson River watershed, particularly reducing bacteria
pollution, is challenging because there are multiple contamination sources. DNA technology is making a huge impact in water quality monitoring because it is uncovering the sources contributing to bacteria pollution. Microbial Source Tracking (MST), a DNA-based test method, helps stormwater managers
determine where fecal pollution is coming from, pinpoint the host responsible for the fecal pollution, and evaluate BMP effectiveness.
The presentation explains how genetic technology is solving water quality management problems. It also includes a discussion on two MST projects in Massachusetts and California. The Boston Water and Sewer Commission used DNA markers to assess the effectiveness of the City of Boston's MS4 IDDE program in stormwater and other water systems. Santa Barbara in California used MST to identify host
fecal contamination sources that polluted their beaches through stormwater systems. A follow-up MST study was conducted by Santa Barbara to evaluate the impact of the structural and non-structural best management practices (BMPs) deployed to mitigate this fecal pollution.
Water / Stormwater Management
Health, Safety and Welfare
(1) Learn about the new methods in microbial source tracking and how they are changing environmental water testing. Unlike traditional methods, recent developments have made MST more costeffective. By properly identifying the cause of the pollution, water managers will be able to save money
because they won't waste precious funds on band-aid solutions.
(2) Learn how to craft effective remediation plans and demonstrate compliance of permit require-ments using DNA evidence. The presence of fecal indicator bacteria does not distinguish sources so further testing is needed in order to determine if the bacteria came from humans or animals. DNA testing will provide the much needed information and can be used as evidence to demonstrate compliance.
(3) Learn the lessons and outcomes achieved in case studies that used MST. Results from MST analysis can confirm or refute initial hypothesis of bacteria sources. This can provide more confi-dence that the remediation plan is on the right track or this could prompt a revision and further test-ing. MST analysis does not only identify the sources but it can also pinpoint where the pollution is coming from.
Mauricio Larenas, Source Molecular Corporation
New York Chapter of ASLA