In the first study ever to evaluate urban sediment after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, scientists from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science have published their findings in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pointing to the need for rapid environmental assessments.
The environment in New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed high levels of contamination as floodwaters receded from the city, and this new study, titled "Impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Microbial Landscape of the New Orleans Area" provides new insights into public health and human exposure to both inhaled and ingested pathogens from sewage-contaminated floodwaters induced by hurricanes.
Rosenstiel School researchers from its NSF/NIEHS Center for Oceans and Human Health, along with five other universities and two other NSF/NIEHS Centers for Oceans and Human Health, analyzed water and sediment samples they collected as floodwaters receded from New Orleans during the two months after the 2005 hurricanes. The scientists collected water and sediment samples from the interior canal and shoreline of New Orleans and the offshore waters of Lake Pontchartrain, which showed higher than normal bacteria and pathogen levels. The bacteria and pathogens reduced to low levels within a few weeks after flooding had completely subsided.
“Our findings emphasize the importance of including environmental monitoring within disaster management plans,” said Dr. Helena Solo-Gabriele, professor of environmental engineering at the University of Miami and co-author of the paper. “A rapid assessment of conditions can protect emergency workers and residents from potential illnesses that could result from exposure.”
The 2005 events were characterized by an unusually high volume and long duration of human exposure. The most contaminated area tested near the Superdome contained high levels of sewage pathogens. Researchers pointed out monitoring efforts should focus on evaluating the impacts of sediments within the area since exposure to contaminated sediments, by inhaling or ingesting, could result in potential health risks. Efforts should include monitoring pathogens in addition to indicator microbes.
“We know that hurricanes bring infectious disease, chemical contamination and death in their wake,” said Don Rice, director of NSF's chemical oceanography program, which funded the research. “Now we are making a concerted effort to study and understand the connections.”
Sediment samples taken from the canal shoreline and from three homes showed elevated levels that could not be contributed solely to the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The source of elevated bacteria levels in the canals and sediments appears to be the chronic discharge of contaminated water from the interior portions of the city.
Poor water quality, present prior to the hurricanes, was a major concern in the region, and efforts are needed in the region to improve the sanitary infrastructure.
Improvements should focus on the storm water drainage system in the region and reducing sewage contamination of groundwater seepage, researchers noted. No evidence of a long-term algal bloom was observed in New Orleans as a result of Hurricanes Katrina or Rita.
Rosenstiel School is part of the University of Miami and, since its founding in the 1940s, has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions.
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering