Source Molecular Speaks at Stormwater Conference in South Carolina

Source Molecular Corporation supported the 2017 Municipal Wet Weather Stormwater Conference as speaker and exhibitor on May 15-17, 2017, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Source Molecular’s Project Manager James Herrin presented evidence-based guidelines to crafting an effective plan to identify and eliminate bacteria sources. Mr. Herrin said the guidelines are based on lessons learned and outcomes achieved in three microbial source tracking projects in Delaware and California.

Tanya Strickland of the City of North Augusta presented “Monitoring a Total Maximum Daily Load Stream for Bacteria – Where do they come from?”  According to Ms. Strickland, their small TMDL stream is located entirely within the boundaries of the city. Thus, she said, they have a unique look at the stream geography, hydrology and impacts to it from the community.

Monitoring data of bacteria concentrations and sources reveal that there is more than human contributions to the problem. Based on the study, communities need to take a critical look at the larger implications for development initiatives. Ms. Strickland said communities must also examine stormwater management goals. What are the natural resource demands? Do regulators need to shift requirements to meet real world situations?

Ms. Strickland said they are looking at MST to help them identify the sources of bacteria. In closing, Ms. Strickland asked: “How will regulators address the conundrum that SC MS4’s are in when it comes to requiring us to implement BMPs to reduce E. coli with the current knowns and unknowns about this bacteria?”

Beth McLaughlin of Amec Foster Wheeler presented TMDL Alternative Plans. She related that MS4 managers must have the short term goal of complying with MS4 permits. In addition, she said, they should have a long term goal of protecting and improving in stream water quality while managing the community’s risk.

Angela Vandelay and Kelli Garcia of Amec Foster Wheeler talked about the development of Watershed Plans. They discussed how MS4s can develop watershed plans to protect water quality. Moreover, they emphasized the need for developing watershed plans. They also discussed what happens after a plan is developed.

Mr. Herrin notes that Amec Foster Wheeler mentioned the need to set measurable criteria for addressing pollution. Mr. Herrin believes there is a great possibility that MST can be included in these plans as a way to measure pollution reduction of bacteria from targeted sources. For example, Mr. Herrin notes, when bacteria sources are coming from birds, deer, and humans, stormwater managers could rule out the human component by repairing the sewers. When E. coli counts remain high due to birds and deer, stormwater managers can use the MST results to demonstrate their compliance, he added.

Furthermore, Mr. Herrin emphasized MST results can provide scientific evidence regarding the sources of bacteria. Then, he said, remediation becomes more effective.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4, International Erosion Control Association (IECA) Southeast Chapter and IECA Region One hosted the conference.