CONSIDERATIONS IN INITIATING A MICROBIAL SOURCE TRACKING PROGRAM
Abstract:This is an overview of how an MST program entitled ‘DeVaWaSTE’ is being implemented in the Delaware Valley to address issues under the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. The Philadelphia Water Department and Drexel University are collaborating to establish a dedicated MST laboratory that will accommodate both phenotypic and genotypic approaches, namely antibiotic resistance and repetitive polymerase chain reaction analyses. Information on the watershed of interest has been obtained from multiple sources, and analysis of these data ensures the watershed is adequately characterized and has enabled tailoring of the study to reflect the Delaware Valley's specific characteristics. Animal density data, water use and infrastructure guide the sampling strategy of this program. Given the wealth of information available on MST, the literature covers many aspects of the subject as reflected in the ongoing work. However, experts in this field have yet to reach a consensus on the specialized preparations needed for pertinent laboratory analyses. Considering the array of equipment needed and available to those engaging in MST research and the specialized skills required, the practical implications need consideration and quantification. Although modest when compared with the costs associated with some chemical analyses, the equipment costs of a basic MST laboratory, particularly employing genotypic methods, may be prohibitive for smaller utilities and this study provides an indication of costs that can be anticipated, in terms of both initial outlay for instruments and ongoing costs of consumable items. This is a summary of the steps taken in setting up the program, such as the logistics and quality assurance/quality control. Initial results are also presented.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2007
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