Source Molecular Leads MST Track in 2018 Tennessee Conference

Source Molecular Corporation gave two presentations at the Tennessee Stormwater Association (TNSA) Annual Conference held October 16 to 17, 2018, at Montgomery Bell State Park.

Project Manager James Herrin discussed “Demonstrating BMP Effectiveness with Microbial Source Tracking & Host Fecal Score,” and “Leveraging DNA to Enhance Water Quality.” These topics are in line with TNSA’s mission to assist members with their local efforts to comply with State and Federal clean water laws; including stormwater regulations through EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Tennessee has its share of fecal bacteria pollution problems. Tennessee towns are facing a continuing battle against sewer overflows. Aging wastewater systems are being overwhelmed by heavy rains. The excess overflows are causing raw sewage to spill into lakes and streams. The public are putting pressure on agencies to clean up the waters.

The Tennessee Department of Health and Environment routinely tests for total coliform bacteria. But bacteria sources can come from a number of sources such as pastures, feedlots, poultry-growing operations, lagoons, septic tanks, sewage plants, woodlands and wildlife. Domestic animals also contribute significant fecal pollution in surface waters.

Identifying bacteria sources is necessary in effective remediation. Mr. Herrin says it is important for stormwater managers to be able to produce scientific evidence regarding bacteria sources, particularly when it is non-human. The common assumption people make is that when there’s fecal bacteria in the water, sewage is immediately seen as the cause when in reality there could be many sources.

Mr. Herrin also shared about the Human Fecal Score (HFS) that was developed to give the site average concentration of the HF183 marker. It is a number that characterizes the extent of human fecal pollution at a site. The HFS makes it easy for stormwater managers to make a decision about which sites to prioritize. For more information about MST and the HFS, write Mr. Herrin an email at

The 2019 TNSA Conference will be held November 19 to 21, 2019, at Montgomery Bell State Park with the theme, “Bridging the Gap.”