Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds contaminated water reaching Florida’s offshore keys

26.07.2007
A new University of Georgia study finds that sewage-contaminated groundwater is reaching the offshore reefs of the Upper Florida Keys, possibly threatening corals and human health.

“The widespread use of in-ground waste disposal through septic tanks and injection wells appears to be leading to the contamination of submarine groundwater even up to six miles offshore,” said study author Erin Lipp, associate professor at the UGA College of Public Health. “When the contaminated groundwater mixes with surface water and reaches the reef, the corals as well as human health might be harmed.”

The findings were presented Tuesday at a meeting of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program Steering Committee in Marathon, Fla.

Lipp and doctoral student Carrie Futch, along with Dale Griffin of the U.S. Geological Survey in Tallahassee, sampled surface water, groundwater and corals from five sites from nearshore to offshore beginning outside of Port Largo Canal and ending near Molasses Reef. Their three-year study revealed common fecal indicator bacteria and human viruses.

The fecal indicator bacteria, which are not pathogens themselves but rather serve as surrogates for other disease-causing microbes found in sewage, declined with distance from shore but tended to be elevated in the surface layers of coral mucus relative to the surrounding water. High levels of fecal indicator bacteria from canals were also shown to move into the nearshore environment on outgoing tides. Lipp said the detection of these bacteria in predominantly nearshore stations suggests that land-based sources of sewage pollution such as cesspits and septic systems may be a significant contributor.

Genetic material from enteric viruses, which cause disease in humans but are only found in infected human feces and urine, also were commonly found throughout the sampled area, including ground water more than six miles offshore. The frequency of detecting viruses increased with rainfall in the summer months, when the viruses were most likely to be found in groundwater. Lipp cautioned, however, that the test used to identify the enteric viruses was not designed to determine whether the viruses were alive or dead.

“Until we actually know the level of risk, our findings are just an indication that there could be some level of sewage contamination offshore,” she said. “It doesn’t indicate that people need to change their behavior, but does show that the appropriate treatment of water through centralized sewage is needed.”

Bill Kruczynski, Florida Keys Program Scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the installation of new wastewater management systems such as centralized collection and advanced wastewater treatment facilities, as recommended by the Water Quality Protection Program (WQPP) for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and required by Florida State Law 99-395, is essential to restore and maintain water quality in the Florida Keys. In addition, the WQPP recommended improved storm water treatment practices to further reduce pollutant loading to nearshore waters.

“The Sanctuary and Monroe County are taking the right steps to improve water quality by enacting no dumping ordinances and implementing centralized sewage,” Lipp said. “The next step is to ensure that it’s working and hopefully document an improvement in water quality.”

The study was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Sam Fahmy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uga.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>