Final Report: Experimental Study of Overland Transport of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts

EPA Grant Number: R825511C012
Subproject: this is subproject number 012 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R825511
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC (1989) - Northeast HSRC
Center Director: Sidhu, Sukh S.
Title: Experimental Study of Overland Transport of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts
Investigators: Jaffe, Peter R. , Atkinson, Joseph F.
Institution: The State University of New York at Buffalo
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: October 1, 1998 through March 30, 2000
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (1989) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Substance Research Centers , Land and Waste Management


This study is designed to examine the potential for transport of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts in overland flow. The project involves primarily experimental tests, along with a modeling framework which, along with the experimental data, can be used to estimate the potential for runoff of oocysts for different hydrologic conditions. A major goal of the experiments is to determine the degree to which oocysts tend to stick to different materials, and then to evaluate their potential for runoff, either in attached or "free-floating form". A second major goal of the experiments is to evaluate different protocols for measuring oocysts in "dirty" samples, which are likely to contain significant amounts of other materials (clay or other soil, fecal matter, plant mater, etc.). The present study is designed to provide a means of predicting when problems may occur and to develop possible management options for control of overland transport of oocysts.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

Rationale: Oocysts are produced in many animals, but the primary concern is for production in dairy or meat cattle, particularly in calves where as many as 109 oocysts may be produced per calf per day and shed to the ground surface in fecal material. The concern is for potential movement of oocysts during storm runoff events. It is currently unknown whether oocysts are transported primarily along with sediment material to which they may be attached, or as "free-floating" bodies. In either case, oocysts may be carried into streams and eventually may infect water supplies. Little is known, however, about their transport properties, so that it is currently difficult to evaluate actual risks and to design preventative measures for such possibilities. Relatively little work has been done previously to determine the transport characteristics of oocysts in overland flow. The possible effectiveness of grass strip barriers (a suggested management alternative) is unknown in any detail because the "stickiness" of oocysts to grass blades is unknown. Reliable methods of measuring oocysts in samples with significant amounts of other materials likely to be included in natural runoff flows are also not widely available. Currently accepted methods have been developed primarily for relatively clean water samples. This obviously complicates the evaluation of experimental data, and there is a need to examine in much greater detail than is currently available better methods of measuring oocysts under natural runoff conditions. Ultimately, the present experimental program is designed to measure the "stickiness" of oocysts to different materials, to evaluate the preferred mode of transport (attached to particles or free-floating) and the degree to which oocysts tend to become attached to surface materials such as grass or soil.

A methodology to evaluate potential risks also is currently unavailable, even if the required experimental data were known. To this end, it is desirable to develop a modeling framework to incorporate characteristics of a given watershed of interest, along with oocyst loading and transport characteristics (to be determined in the experiments) and storm event data, so that potential oocysts loading from the watershed may be evaluated.

Approach: The study consists primarily of physical experiments and development of a modeling framework. The experiments may be grouped in two series: (1) mixing jar tests and (2) flume tests. The mixing jar tests are used both to study different methods of measuring oocysts and to determine the relative degree to which oocysts tend to adhere to different materials, including cow fecal matter, clay, grass blades, sand and other materials that may be expected in a given watershed. The flume tests are meant as a direct test of overland transport, using a laboratory flume with a rain simulator. The modeling framework also consists of two general components: (1) a fundamental analysis and development of a transport equation to simulate movement of oocysts in both the free-floating and attached phases; and (2) evaluation of existing large-scale watershed runoff and solids transport models, explicitly considering possible incorporation of oocysts transport. These exercises directly support the general goal of producing a tool for evaluating potential risk of oocyst contamination for a given watershed, storm event and oocyst loading scenario.

Status: Both the experimental study and model evaluation and development are nearly completed. Primarily, a final analysis and write up is still required. A number of different aspects of measuring oocysts in the laboratory in dirty samples have been examined. Although the results are still far from conclusive, since it is recommended that an experimental program should be developed specifically to examine this problem, several recommendations have been developed, along with suggestions regarding the accuracy that is currently possible. The jar tests also have been analyzed to determine the degree of stickiness of the oocysts to different materials, and the flume tests have been completed. Development of a modeling framework has been completed, as well as a review of existing large-scale hydrologic runoff and erosion models. The one remaining task is to integrate the experimental data and the transport model. This will be completed during the final project write-up.

Technology Transfer and Outreach Plan: We have had numerous discussions with our EPA project manager and with as many other researchers working in this general area as we could identify. An experimental program conducted at the USDA agricultural Research Station in Beltsville, MD was similar to ours, though not covering the same sets of experimental conditions. Several recent studies have been reported at the University of California at Davis, regarding overland transport of oocysts.

Two M.S. theses has been produced: (1) "A Framework to Model the Migration of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts in Shallow Overland Flow", by Arne Klawitter, and (2), "Partitioning and Transport of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts", by Usha Vegesna. Both students completed their degrees in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.

Plans for further dissemination of project results include a final project report, including a summary procedure that may be used for evaluation of potential risks for oocyst loading form a given watershed. Possible recipients of this report will be discussed with our project officer. We also expect to prepare one or two papers for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 2 publications for this subproject

Supplemental Keywords:

Transport, Cryptosporidium parvum, Oocysts, Contamination., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Water & Watershed, Environmental Chemistry, Wastewater, Fate & Transport, Wet Weather Flows, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Watersheds, fate and transport, wetlands, hazardous liquid waste, contaminant transport, watershed, runoff, ecosystem evaluation, urban runoff, overland transport, plant growth, groundwater contamination, stormwater runoff, phytoremediation, cryptosporidium, ecological transferability, aqueous waste stream

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 1999

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R825511    HSRC (1989) - Northeast HSRC

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R825511C001 Development of Mechanisms and Kinetic Models on Formation of Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-Dioxins and Dibenzofurans from Aromatic Precursors
    R825511C002 Real-Time Monitoring and Control of Emissions from Stationary Combustors and Incinerators
    R825511C003 Development of Sampling Systems for Continuous Monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
    R825511C004 Investigation into the Effectiveness of DNAPL Remediation Strategies in Fractured Media
    R825511C005 Advanced Leak Detection and Location Research: Extending the SERDP-funded Technical Base
    R825511C006 Three-Dimensional Geostatistical Site Characterization with Updating
    R825511C007 Anaerobic Biodegradation of PAHs in Soils and Dredged Sediments: Characterizing, Monitoring and Promoting Remediation
    R825511C008 Substrate Accelerated Death and Extended Lag Phases as Causes of the Recalcitrance of Halogenated Compounds in Anoxic Environments
    R825511C009 Fate and Transport of Nonionic Surfactants
    R825511C010 In Situ Degradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons and PAHs in Contaminated Salt Marsh Sediments
    R825511C011 Design and Operation of Surfactant-Enhanced Bioslurry Reactors
    R825511C012 Experimental Study of Overland Transport of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts
    R825511C013 Development of a Framework for Evaluation of Leaching from Solid Waste
    R825511C014 Use of a New Leaching Test Framework for Evaluating Alternative Treatment Processes for Mercury Contaminated Mixed Waste (Hazardous and Radioactive)
    R825511C015 Field Pilot Test of In Situ Ultrasonic Enhancement Coupled With Soil Fracturing to Detoxify Contaminated Soil
    R825511C016 Development of Sampling Systems for Continuous Monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
    R825511C017 Field Demonstration of the Use of Reactive Zero-Valence Iron Powder to Treat Source Zone Sites Impacted by Halogenated Volatile Organic Chemicals
    R825511C018 Technology Transfer of Continuous Non-Methane Organic Carbon (C-NMOC) Analyzer
    R825511C019 Field Sampling and Treatability Study for In-Situ Remediation of PCB's and Leachable Lead with Iron Powder
    R825511C020 Experimental and Modeling Studies of Chlorocarbon Incineration, PIC Formation, and Emissions Control
    R825511C021 Experimental Studies and Numerical Modeling of Turbulent Combustion During Thermal Treatment of Hazardous Wastes: Applied Research for the Generation of Design and Diagnostic Tools
    R825511C022 Electrochemical Sensor for Heavy Metals in Groundwater - Phase IV
    R825511C023 Novel Molecular Tools for Monitoring In-Situ Bioremediation
    R825511C024 Surfactant-Enhanced Bioremediation of Soils in the Presence of an Organic Phase
    R825511C025 Enhanced Microbial Dechlorination of PCBs and Dioxins in Contaminated Dredge Spoils
    R825511C026 Toward A Risk-Based Model for Bioremediation of Multicomponent NAPL Contaminants
    R825511C027 Removal and Recovery of VOCs and Oils from Surfactant-Flushed Recovered Water by Membrane Permeation
    R825511C029 Field Pilot Test of In-Situ Ultrasonic Enhancement Coupled With Soil Fracturing to Detoxify Contaminated Soil in Cooperation with McLaren/Hart Environmental Engineers at the Hillsborough, NJ Site
    R825511C030 In-Situ Field Test of Electroremediation of a Chromate-Contaminated Site in Hudson County, New Jersey
    R825511C031 Electrokinetic Removal of Heavy Metals and Mixed Hazardous Wastes from Partially and Fully Saturated Soils
    R825511C032 Effects of Clay Charge and Confining Stresses on Soil Remediation by Electroosmosis
    R825511C033 Assessment of Surfactant Enhanced Bioremediation for Soils/Aquifers Containing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
    R825511C034 In-Situ Bioremediation of Organic Compounds: Coupling of Mass Transfer and Biodegradation
    R825511C035 Investigation into the Effectiveness of DNAPL Remediation Strategies in Fractured Media
    R825511C036 Field Pilot Scale Demonstration of Trench Bio-Sparge: An In-Situ Groundwater Treatment Technology
    R825511C037 In-Situ Reductive Dehalogenation of Aliphatic Compounds by Fermentative Heterotrophic Bacteria
    R825511C038 The Effect of Carbon-Nitrogen Ratios on Bacterial Transport and Biodegradation Rates In Soils
    R825511C039 Ultrasonic Enhancement of Soil Fracturing Technologies for In-Situ Detoxification of Contaminated Soil
    R825511C040 Full Field Demonstration of Integrated Pneumatic Fracturing and In-Situ Bioremediation
    R825511C041 Determination of Adsorption and Desorption Behavior of Petroleum Products on Soils
    R825511C042 Evaluation of the Potential for Complete Bioremediation of NAPL-Contaminated Soils Containing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
    R825511C043 Characterization of Subsurface NAPL Distributions at Heterogeneous Field Sites
    R825511C044 Development of a Thermal Desorption Gas Chromatograph/Microwave Induced Plasma/Mass Spectrometer (TDGC/MIP/MS) for On-site Analysis of Organic and Metal Contaminants
    R825511C045 Using Trainable Networks for a Three-dimensional Characterization of Subsurface Contamination
    R825511C046 Application of Advanced Waste Characterization to Soil Washing and Treatment
    R825511C047 Electrochemical Sensor for Heavy Metals in Groundwater Phase III
    R825511C048 Improved Luminescence Sensors for Oxygen Measurement
    R825511C049 Preconcentration, Speciation and Determination of Dissolved Heavy Metals in Natural Waters, using Ion Exchange and Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry
    R825511C050 Experimental and Modeling Studies of Chlorocarbon Incineration and PIC Formation
    R825511C051 PIC Emission Minimization: Fundamentals and Applications
    R825511C052 Project Title: Development of a Two Stage, Pulse Combustion, VOC Destruction Technology
    R825511C053 Development of Sampling Systems for Continuous Monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
    R825511C054 FTIR Analysis of Gaseous Products from Hazardous Waste Combustion
    R825511C055 Toxic Metals Volatilization for Waste Separation and Real-time Metals Analyses
    R825511C056 Mixed Metal Removal and Recovery by Hollow Fiber Membrane-Based Extractive Adsorber
    R825511C057 Removal of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from Contaminated Groundwater and Soils by Pervaporation
    R825511C058 Simultaneous SO2/NO Removal/Recovery by Hollow Fiber Membrane
    R825511C059 Superfund Sites and Mineral Industries Method
    R825511C060 Soil Washing of Mixed Organics/Metal Contamination
    R825511C061 Removal of Cesium, Strontium, Americium, Technetium and Plutonium from Radioactive Wastewater
    R825511C062 Development of a Method for Removal of Nonvolatile Organic Materials from Soil using Flotation
    R825511C063 Recovery of Evaporative Fuel Losses by Vapor Permeation Membranes
    R825511C064 Surfactant Selection Protocol for Ex Situ Soil Washing
    R825511C065 Biofiltration for the Control of Toxic Industrial VOCs Emissions
    R825511C066 Catalytic Oxidation of Volatile Organic Compounds in Water
    R825511C067 Soil Washing for Remediating Metal Contaminated Soils
    R825511C068 Aqueous Absorption and Kinetics of NO by Strong Oxidizing Agents
    R825511C069 Remediation of Dredging Spoils
    R825511C070 Freeze Concentration for Zero-Effluent Processes
    R825511C071 Life Cycle/Pollution Prevention Response to Executive Order 12856
    R825511C072 Faster Better, Cheaper Hazardous Waste Site Characterization and Cleanup: an Adaptive Sampling and Analysis Strategy Employing Dynamic Workplans
    R825511C073 Development of a Comprehensive Computer Model for the Pneumatic Fracturing Process
    R825511C074 Technology Demonstration and Validation of CFAST Field Analytical Instrumentation for Use in Hazardous Waste Site Characterization, Clean-up and Monitoring
    R825511C075 XFLOW: Training Software Simulating Contaminant Site Characterization and Remediation