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Open Access Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment for Recreational Exposure to Water Bodies in Philadelphia

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A quantitative microbial risk assessment was conducted to estimate risk of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses associated with recreational exposure to Philadelphia waterways, under dry and wet weather conditions. Using maximum likelihood estimation, stochastic exposure models were generated for each exposure scenario and Monte Carlo techniques were applied to characterize uncertainty in final risk estimates. The dry-weather risk estimates were found significantly lower than those predicted for wet-weather conditions. Moreover, the predicted risk, calculated in proportion of the frequency of use, was elevated at 6 out of 10 sites (ranging from 9 to 52 illnesses/1000 users/day). Activities contributing most to the risk of GI illness at creeks were identified as wading and playing (81%), while fishing was the potential risk contributor (65%) at rivers. The quantitative measure of risk contribution from each type of water activity obtained from this study can be useful for policy makers in prioritizing the future interventions.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, 251 Curtis Hall, 3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Publication date: 2015-03-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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