Source Molecular Corporation was mentioned in a webinar presentation on “Finding Sources of Fecal Coliform Bacteria in Stormwater Runoff” by Dr. David Tomasko, Principal Associate and Senior Scientist at Environmental Science Associates.-endpar-
Dr. Tomasko was the guest speaker of the one-hour webinar hosted by the Florida Stormwater Association and sponsored by Applied Sciences Consulting on May 12, 2016. He summarized the results of additional research to determine the source(s) of the bacteria in stormwater runoff of the watershed of Sunshine Lake (Charlotte County), which was found to vastly exceed guidance levels.
Dr. Tomasko pointed out that fecal coliform bacteria do not have to come from feces, whether human or animal, “potential sources can include decay of vegetation (both native and non-native) and naturally occurring soil bacteria.” He said this was what they learned in the Wagner Creek TMDL that they developed for the City of Miami–reviewed and approved by Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In the Wagner Creek TMDL, Dr. Tomasko said they were allowed to include some techniques for determining humans as a source of bacteria. He gave a shout-out to Source Molecular’s laboratory, which provided microbial source tracking (MST) analysis for human sources on samples they provided. “They did a really nice job, produced results that we included in our TMDL,” Dr. Tomasko said of Source Molecular.
Based on the MST tests, there was some evidence that humans were a source of bacteria. But in much of the area and what they believe is most of the bacteria, Dr. Tomasko said they didn’t think it had to do with humans in terms of fecal bacteria, it had to do with humans in terms of their practices.
In the Sunshine Lake situation, they found extremely high levels of phosphorous and very high levels of fecal coliform bacteria. Dr. Tomasko said they tapped Source Molecular once more to provide MST analysis for human and dog sources but the maximum frequencies combined were less than 1%. The most startling discovery they had was the amount of grass clippings they found in the storm drain.
“Our conclusion is that grass clippings when decomposing can give rise to massive amounts of fecal bacteria,” Dr. Tomasko said. For a more information on Dr. Tomasko’s presentation, watch the recording of the webinar at the FSA website.
Source Molecular has assisted hundreds of water managers who are dealing with pathogenic water pollution problems and has been involved in a number of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development projects. It has a license from the EPA to use their patented genetic testing methods developed specifically for the detection of Human, Cattle, Chicken and Dog fecal pollution. It is also capable of identifying fecal bacteria from Swine, Gull, Goose, Deer, Elk, Horse, Bird, Beaver and Ruminant.