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The Need for Speed-Rapid Methodologies to Determine Bathing Beach Water Quality

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Abstract:Current methods for determining fecal contamination of recreational waters rely on the culture of bacterial indicators and require at least 24 hours to determine whether the water is unsafe for use. By the time monitoring results are available, exposures have already occurred. New methods are needed that will allow near real-time determination of water quality, such that public notifications can be made and hazardous exposures avoided. The U.S. EPA, National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) has evaluated several new antibody and molecular-based approaches for obtaining timely measurements of recreational water quality within a two-three hour time period. These approaches include: 1) flow cytometric detection of indicator organisms using fluorescently labeled antibody-paramagnetic bead complexes; 2) antibody capture and fiber optic detection of indicator organisms; and 3) quantitative polymerase chain reaction amplification of nucleic acids from specific fecal indicator organisms. These methods will be used in a joint study by NERL, the National Health and Environmental Effects Laboratory and the Centers for Disease Control to develop new water quality-health effects relationships that can be used for establishing scientifically defendable guidelines for recreational waters.

The objectives of this research are: (1) to obtain in a timely manner water quality data using the new rapid, state-of-the-art methods and the new EMPACT monitoring protocol in conjunction with epidemiological studies that will produce water quality-health data; and (2) to provide the information to the Office of Water so they can promulgate new state and/or federal guidelines and limits for water quality indicators of fecal contamination so that beach managers and public health officials can alert the public about the potential health hazards before exposure to unsafe water can occur.
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Citation:Haugland, R. A. The Need for Speed-Rapid Methodologies to Determine Bathing Beach Water Quality. Presented at Science Forum 2003, Washington, DC, May 5-7, 2003.
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Contact: Mary P. O'Bryant - (919)-541-4871 or obriant.mary@epa.gov
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Division: Microbiological & Chemical Exposure Assessment Division
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Branch: Microbial Exposure Research Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 05/05/2003
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Rapid Detection Method for E.COLI, Enterococci and Bacteroides in Recreational Water
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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