Microbial Source Tracking Study in Boston Gets National Award

Source Molecular Corporation provided microbial source tracking (MST) analysis for a study that won an award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). The MST study is entitled “Utilizing DNA Markers for Identification of Human and Non-Human Fecal Sources in Urban Stormwater”. Geosyntec designed and led the MST study for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC).

NACWA will be presenting its Operations & Environmental Performance Award to BWSC in February 2018 at its Winter Conference in Napa, California. The award recognizes an innovative and effective project, system or method relating to wastewater treatment plant or collection system operations developed and successfully implemented by an NACWA member in a cost-effective manner while achieving environmental compliance objectives.

BWSC maintains the City of Boston’s water and sewer services and continues to implement one of New England’s most rigorous Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) programs throughout their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). As an additional proactive measure, BWSC retained Geosyntec to determine whether and where bacteria in their MS4 outfalls and interconnections are due to human versus non-human sources and to evaluate ongoing IDDE program efficiency.

MST Study

Geosyntec developed a hypothesis-driven study that assesses bacteria and nutrient sources to and within BWSC’s MS4. Geosyntec also assessed the spatial/temporal patterns of these pollutants, and the reliability of conventional and EPA-recommended IDDE indicators. The study incorporated the latest and most proven analytical tools. This includes droplet digital quantitative PCR for human and non-human DNA markers.

According to Geosyntec, BWSC will benefit from the MST study results through increased efficiency and effectiveness of their IDDE program. Results will also improve water quality protection and support compliance with MS4 permit and Consent Decree requirements. BWSC will also be able to identify more cost-effective nutrient and bacteria control strategies for meeting TMDL requirements. Geosyntec also noted that their recommended IDDE program improvements from the study can benefit other MS4 permittees.

Geosyntec has nationwide experience with MST study design, implementation, and interpretation. Source Molecular has partnered with Geosyntec on many of these MST projects.

Source Molecular has been providing MST services since 2002. It has assisted in hundreds of projects as well as supported research and development initiatives. Check out some of the prominent projects that Source Molecular was involved in.

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