New recreational water testing alternatives

Kesteloot, Kurt; Azizan, Azliyati; Whitman, Richard; Nevers, Meredith
September 2012
Park Science;Fall2012/Winter2013, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p6
Each year recreational water users descend on national parks by the millions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations require monitoring waters for fecal indicator bacteria in order to safeguard human health, and obtaining results using the culturing method takes 18 hours or more of analytical time. Thus, under this surveillance regime swimmers can be exposed to waterborne disease organisms before health advisories can be issued. To address the need for timelier notification of recreational water quality, the EPA has evaluated and approved new and faster testing methods as of November 2012. This article discusses new recreational water testing methodologies such as qPCR, empirical predictive modeling, rainfall threshold levels, and advanced notification options for park managers to consider and tailor to their needs.


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