Sampling underway for study examining uniqueness of microbial community inside sewer vs. storm drain

Posted May 5, 2018

SCCWRP and its partners have begun collecting samples from San Diego-area sanitary sewer and storm drain systems for a study investigating whether a unique microbial community is found inside each of these two infrastructure types.

The study, which initiated field sampling in July, is intended to shed light on whether leaking sewer pipes could be responsible for human fecal contamination found in urban waterways. Sampling efforts are scheduled to expand to Los Angeles and Orange Counties by the end of this year.

SCCWRP will use DNA-based microbial source tracking methods to determine whether the composition of the bacterial community inside sanitary sewer pipes – known as biofilm – is consistently distinguishable from the biofilm inside storm drain pipes.

The biofilm community that lines the insides of sewer pipes is theorized to be the product of unique environmental factors, including temperature, moisture, darkness and rich nutrient supplies.

More news related to: Microbial Source Tracking, Microbial Water Quality