Sourcing faecal contamination through antibiotic resistance pattern classification
Carroll, Steven P., Goonetilleke, Ashantha, & Hargreaves, Megan (2005) Sourcing faecal contamination through antibiotic resistance pattern classification. In Patterson, R. A. & Jones, M. J. (Eds.) On-site ’05 Conference: Performance Assessment for On-Site systems: Regulation, operation and monitoring, 27-29 September, University of New England, Armidale.
Contamination of groundwater and surface water sources with faecal bacteria due to increased urbanisation and high densities of on-site wastewater treatment systems is of vital concern. Increased faecal contamination of water sources can lead to enhance public health risks. Due to the many possible sources of faecal contamination in catchments, and to effectively manage the inherent risks resulting from contamination, identification of the different sources of contamination is crucial. The most recent methods for identifying microbial contamination are based on the use of bacterial source tracking (BST) techniques to detect pollution sources.
Faecal bacteria can be emitted from various sources, including agricultural practices, wild and domesticated animals and effluent treatment facilities such as on-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS). This is compounded by the fact that the faecal indicators may not be from one particular source, but rather from a variety of sources. Identification of the various sources is important as faecal contamination resulting from human sources entail a high public health risk due to the possible presence of pathogenic organisms. Additionally, if the faecal source is known, suitable management actions can be implemented to prevent further contamination and to mitigate the health risks.
The main focus of the study discussed in the paper was the use of Antibiotic resistance pattern (ARP) technique for determining the potential sources of faecal contamination of ground and surface waters, in the Gold Coast region. The investigated areas have significant densities of on-site wastewater treatment systems. However, although faecal contamination was evident in investigated water sources, whether human, and hence on-site wastewater treatment systems, are the major source of the contamination entailed the use of reliable methodology. The use of ARP provided a reliable means of identifying the major sources of faecal contamination.
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