Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bacteriodes & Milwaukee's "oozing" sewers

Months after a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article raised awareness over fecal contaminationin Greater Milwaukee's waterways, the Great Lakes WATER Institute and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have released a final report on the possible source.

Raccoons have been ruled out.

The research analyzed more than 1,000 stormwater samples (including inline stormwater and grab samples) from 62 municipal stormwater discharge locations over a three-year period. Using a new DNA based methodology, investigators searched for the genetic marker of a species of Bacteriodes, a bacteria associated only with humans.

It was found throughout Greater Milwaukee's watershed.

Three stormwater outfalls along Lake Michigan, for instance, had positive results in more than 70% of the samples tested. Stormwater outfalls along the Menomonee River were positive in 73% of the samples tested. Many more sample locations also tested positive for Bacteriodes.

To learn more about fecal contamination and the study, read the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds Pathogen Source Identification report (18MB PDF)