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Appl Environ Microbiol. May 1996; 62(5): 1741–1746.
PMCID: PMC167948

Distribution of sewage indicated by Clostridium perfringens at a deep-water disposal site after cessation of sewage disposal.

Abstract

Clostridium perfringens, a marker of domestic sewage contamination, was enumerated in sediment samples obtained from the vicinity of the 106-Mile Site 1 month and 1 year after cessation of sewage disposal at this site. C. perfringens counts in sediments collected at the disposal site and from stations 26 nautical miles (ca. 48 km) and 50 nautical miles (ca. 92 km) to the southwest of the site were, in general, more than 10-fold higher than counts from an uncontaminated reference site. C. perfringens counts at the disposal site were not significantly different between 1992 and 1993, suggesting that sewage sludge had remained in the benthic environment at this site. At stations where C. perfringens counts were elevated (i.e., stations other than the reference station), counts were generally higher in the top 1 cm and decreased down to 5 cm. In some cases, C. perfringens counts in the bottom 4 or 5 cm showed a trend of higher counts in 1993 than in 1992, suggesting bioturbation. We conclude that widespread sludge contamination of the benthic environment has persisted for at least 1 year after cessation of ocean sewage disposal at the 106-Mile Site.

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Selected References

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