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Role of environmental variables in the transport of microbes in stormwater

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journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2021, 04:46 by Rupak Aryal, JPS Sidhu, MN Chong, S Toze, W Gernjak, Bandita Mainali
Microbial pathogens present in stormwater, which originate from human sewage and animal faecal matters, are one of the major impediments in stormwater reuse. The transport of microbes in stormwater is more than just a physical process. The mobility of microbes in stormwater is governed by many factors, such as dissolved organic matter, cations, pH, temperature and water flow. This paper examined the roles of three environmental variables, namely: dissolved organic matter, positive cations and stormwater flow on the transport of two faecal indicator bacteria (FIB), Enterococcus spp. and Escherichia coli. Stormwater runoff samples were collected during twelve wet weather events and one dry weather event from a medium density residential urban catchment in Brisbane. Enterococcus spp. numbers as high as 3 × 10 cfu/100 mL were detected in the stormwater runoff, while Escherichia coli numbers up to 3.6 × 10 cfu/100 mL were observed. The dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the stormwater samples was in the range of 2.2–5.9 mg/L with an average concentration of 4.5 mg/L in which the hydrophilic carbon constituted the highest mass fraction of 60–80%. The results also showed that the transport of FIB in stormwater was reduced with an increasing concentration of the hydrophilic organic fraction, especially the humic fraction. On the contrary, the concentration of trivalent cations and stormwater flow rate showed a positive correlation with the FIB numbers. These findings indicated the potentiality to make a good use and measurement of simple environmental variables to reflect the degree of microbe transport in stormwater from residential/suburban catchments. 4 3


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