Skip common site navigation and headers
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Exposure Research
Begin Hierarchical Links EPA Home > Research & Development > Exposure Research > Publications/Presentations > End Hierarchical Links

 

Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (Empact) Program Microbiological Monitoring of Recreational Water

spacer
spacer
Abstract:Current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended microbiological monitoring practices for bathing beach water quality were suggested in 1968, as a part of the fecal coliform guideline developed by the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration. The guideline stated that the geometric mean of the fecal coliform counts from five water samples taken over a thirty-day period would be used to determine the beach water quality. This level would be compared with an established limit beyond which the risk of illness was unacceptable. Although EPA has developed much better health guidelines for bathing beach waters that were recommended to the states in 1986, the old methods for monitoring continue to be used by many states and local public health authorities. This approach does not provide timely, accurate information for risk managers or the public, nor does it provide results that are easily interpreted. This shortcoming can be overcome by developing a statistically valid monitoring protocol that takes into account the sampling and environmental factors that vary considerably and, hence, contribute to the uncertainty on how and when to sample and how to interpret the results.

This research study examined five representative beaches from various sections of the United States in depth. The beaches were selected to obtain data on a variety of pollution sources, population density, type of swimming water (fresh or marine), and the type of beach (large coastal beaches, small lake or impoundment beaches, river recreational areas). An appropriate sampling design was developed to account for variation associated with spatial factors, e.g., depth of water, length of the beach and its distance from shore to permissible swimming limits, and temporal factors, such as hourly, daily and seasonal variation. By considering these factors, more appropriate site-specific monitoring protocols can be developed that are based on sound science and will result in better protection of the public health.

The EMPACT project was a collaborative effort between a team of NERL-Cincinnati scientists, two contractors, Lockheed Martin and Battelle, and the collaborating EMPACT cities and laboratories. In addition, outside experts helped with the planning process through their involvement in a Data Quality Objectives Workshop, provided input during the statistical analysis, and participated in a final workshop to review the statistical analysis of the study data. The study report will be used by the Office of Water to develop official monitoring guidelines and a mechanism for translating technical monitoring data into a simple system the public can use to make personal decisions about risks associated with swimming activities.
spacer
Citation:Brenner, K. Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (Empact) Program Microbiological Monitoring of Recreational Water. Presented at Science Forum 2003, Washington, DC, May 5-7, 2003.
spacer
spacer
Contact: Mary P. O'Bryant - (919)-541-4871 or obriant.mary@epa.gov
spacer
Division: Microbiological & Chemical Exposure Assessment Division
spacer
Branch: Microbial Exposure Research Branch
spacer
Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
spacer
Presented: 05/05/2003
spacer
Related Entries:
spacer
Bullet Item Measurements of Fecal Contamination in Recreational Waters By New Rapid Methods and Their Relationships to Health Endpoints
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
spacer
spacer
spacer

 

ORD Home | Search EPA | Search NERL | Search EIMS | Contacts | Help

 
Begin Site Footer

EPA Home | Privacy and Security Notice | Contact Us

Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
URL: http://cfpub.epa.gov