Source Molecular Discusses DNA Technology at Great Rivers Conference

Source Molecular Corporation discussed new developments in DNA technology that make it easier to determine bacteria sources at the Fall Conference and Expo hosted by the Great Rivers Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association.

The conference with the theme, “Sustaining Our Future Resources,” was held October 23 to 24, 2018, at the Adams Pointe Conference Center in Blue Springs, Missouri.

James Herrin, project manager at Source Molecular, was one of the speakers and exhibitors at the event. His presentation is entitled, “Leveraging DNA to Identify Sources of Fecal Pollution in Stormwater.” Mr. Herrin noted that water stewards in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska are also dealing with bacteria contamination problems. Nonpoint source pollution is harder to address since there is no single known origin.

The usual suspects of water quality impairment are wastewater treatment plants, farms, animal feed operations, stormwater runoff, atmospheric deposition, and septic systems. Mr. Herrin emphasized that a scientific and evidence-based approach is best applied. The use of genetic or DNA technology in microbial source tracking (MST) has allowed stormwater managers to determine fecal sources by looking at host-specific markers.

Mr. Herrin cited MST case studies to help participants understand why relying on fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) data is not enough. He also explained how MST can help with site prioritization and measuring the effectiveness of best management practices (BMPs).

“The most reliable way to accurately test for contamination is to combine reliable genetic testing with scientifically sound and adequate study design appropriate for the water quality question you are trying to answer or issue you are trying to resolve,” Mr. Herrin said. For questions on how to MST can help your local water quality issue, email James Herrin at

The goal of the conference was to bring together professionals and share the latest technology, and provide educational experiences to erosion control, sediment control, and stormwater management. Source Molecular offers innovative technology for solving pathogenic water pollution problems.