Quantitative assessment of multiple sources to short-term variations in recreational water quality, as indexed by faecal indicator organism (FIO) concentrations, is becoming increasingly important with adoption of modern water quality standards and catchment-based water quality management requirements (e.g. the EU Water Framework Directive, Article 11 ‘Programmes of Measures’ and the US Clean Water Act, ‘Total Maximum Daily Loads’). This paper describes a study combining microbial tracers, intensive FIO measurement, open channel hydrology and molecular microbial source tracking (MST) to enhance understanding of recreational water quality at Amroth in southwest Wales, UK. Microbial tracers were released from four stream inputs during a moderate hydrograph event. Tracers from two local streams impacted simultaneously with a period of maximum FIO concentrations at the near-shore compliance monitoring site. Connection between these inputs and this site were rapid (9–33 min). Water quality impairment from a more remote stream input followed, 12.85 h after tracer release, sustaining FIO concentrations above desired compliance levels. MST analysis showed dominance of ruminant Bacteroidales genetic markers, associated with agricultural pollution. This integration of tracers and MST offers additional information on the movement and individual sources causing water quality impairment.
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - Sept 2010|