Source Molecular Meets With California Stormwater Managers

Source Molecular Corporation attended the annual conference hosted by the California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) in Sacramento late September. The conference included a discussion on bacteria and pathogens in relation to stormwater science and planning.

At their exhibit booth, Source Molecular’s James Herrin and Dr. Mohammad Jubair met with various members of the California stormwater community. This included local, state, and federal decision-makers, stormwater program coordinators, consultants, contractors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, and planners.

Bacteria TMDL

Bacteria, such as enterococcus and E. coli, in water cause a great concern among watershed managers. It becomes alarming when they exceed the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). Many struggle to meet bacteria TMDL wasteload allocations. It can put an enormous financial burden on MS4 agencies, related Brandon Steets of Geosyntec Consultants Inc.

Mr. Steets spoke about “A Sea Change Ahead for Bacteria TMDL Implementation” at the Sacramento Convention Center of the Hyatt Regency, where the conference ran from September 25 to 27, 2017. Source Molecular has partnered with Geosyntec in a number of bacteria source tracking projects.

Mr. Steets noted that microbial source tracking (MST) is a great tool “for the reliable identification and quantification of bacteria specific to human waste”. He and Geosyntec’s Dr. Jared Ervin outlined a TMDL compliance pathway that is being tested now by multiple Regional Boards and that focuses on the reduction of human fecal sources.

Through MST, Source Molecular does more than routine water analysis. The laboratory analyzes the fecal bacteria in the water to determine if it came from human or animal sources. Using digital PCR, it can also provide absolute quantification of pathogens.

California Stormwater Bacteria Sources

In a separate session, Darcy Ebentier of Amec Foster Wheeler discussed the City of San Diego’s Tiger Team approach for source tracking. The presentation, entitled “The Tiger Team Approach: Addressing High Priority Bacteria Sources through Collaboration and Communication,” was supported by Vicki Kalkirtz of the City of San Diego’s Transportation & Storm Water Department.

Ms. Ebentier related that the City developed a Tiger Team in response to the challenging task of managing bacterial water quality. She noted that in urban environments, multiple sources of both human and non-human contamination comingle. Thus, Ms. Ebentier emphasized, “it is important to understand the risks associated with different sources to prioritize source tracking and abatement for the greatest benefit to human health.”

Over the years, Source Molecular has expanded its laboratory’s capabilities to provide not only qPCR analysis but also Digital PCR. At present, the lab has more than 30 tests with six dedicated to the identification of human fecal bacteria.

Learn how source tracking can help you save money in meeting your TMDL and Clean Water Act requirements. We regularly conduct FREE webinars explaining the technology and its applications to improving water quality. Call us at 786-220-0379 or send us an email at now.