Identification of the sources of pathogens in wetland sediments and their influence on beach water quality (PI)

In collaboration with; Marina Eremeeva (Georgia Southern University), John Van Stan (Georgia Southern University)

NOAA-Transparent-LogoThis project is funded by NOAA as a part of Coastal Incentive Grant Program of Georgia DNR. Georgia-coastal-resources-division-logo

Kings Ferry Beach (KFB) in Georgia has been under permanent advisory since 2005 due to high concentrations of enterococci. This study will investigate the source(s) contributing to occurrence of enterococci at KFB. State of the art microbial source tracking (MST) techniques (i.e. quantitative PCR and sequencing) will be used to determine whether these source(s) are of anthropogenic or natural origin, such as recent contamination caused by sewage, persistent pollution due to resuspension from sediments or wildlife. This study will also provide baseline information regarding the presence and distribution of free living amoeba (FLA), amoeba resisting bacteria (ARB) and their occurrence relative to enterococci.

Indicator bacteria concept has been a powerful tool for beach monitoring but has its own limitations when tested at beaches affected by non-point sources. The technology used in this project will bridge a critical knowledge gap in Georgia and provide information necessary for making more informed planning and resource management decisions to develop, maintain and use such beaches.

Real-time, interactive Google-based GIS maps, along with basic information on beach quality and its influence on public health, will be available online each month at the GA DNR Coastal Resources Division website. If the sources for enterococci are of human origin, these results will be communicated with GA EPD for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) criteria in this area. The results of this project will be disseminated through a series of public meetings organized by Chatham County Health Department and Ogeechee Riverkeeper, and through printed and electronic media to aid public making more informed decision about the risks of recreational activities at KFB.


Past Projects

Chicago Health, Environmental Exposure, and Recreation Study (CHEERS) (Researcher) (2009-2010)

In collaboration with; Samuel Dorevitch (University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health), Joan Rose (Michigan State University) and Irene Xagoraraki (Michigan State University)

This epidemiological study was funded by  Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The project focused on evaluating the1 health risks of secondary (limited) contact water recreation activities on the Chicago Water Ways (CAWS). Swimming, jet skiing and water skiing are not allowed in CAWS, but secondary contact activities such as boating, fishing, and rowing are allowed.

As a part of this project, the enteric virus concentrations and their infectivity were also analyzed and compared with the results from Lake Michigan beaches, inland lakes, rivers. pdf_icon

Based on the results of this project and the previous studies, the wastewater discharging to the CAWS will be disinfected starting in 2016.

Microbiological Pollution at Istanbul Beaches (Co-PI) (2002-2008)

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Funded by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, this 6 years project (2002-2008) provided bi-weekly fecal indicator bacteria monitoring data for shoreline water quality in Istanbul Metropolitan Area.



Using this data, the Municipality of Istanbul selected areas of concern for urban beach restoration. As a result of this project 60 creeks that carried raw sewage to the Istanbul shores were rehabilitated and the number of urban beaches were increased from 4 to 25.