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J Appl Microbiol. 1999 Apr;86(4):603-14.

The effect of a new sewage treatment plant on faecal indicator numbers, campylobacters and bathing water compliance in Morecambe Bay.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Lancaster University, UK.


Until recently, sewage from Morecambe was macerated, but otherwise untreated, and discharged at high water via a short outfall pipe into Morecambe Bay adjacent to a recognized bathing water. In March 1997, a new biological sewage treatment plant came on-line and the effluent was discharged via a longer outfall pipe into the Bay south of Heysham. The effect of the new sewage treatment on the quality of the bathing waters was monitored by testing sea water collected from the three EU designated bathing waters on Morecambe Bay: Morecambe North, Morecambe South and Heysham. After sewage treatment came on-line, the numbers of faecal coliforms and faecal streptococci were lower at Morecambe North and Morecambe South but higher at Heysham. Although the changes in numbers were not always statistically significant, they were sufficient to affect compliance with the EU Bathing Water Directive Imperative (mandatory) standards. Compliance improved markedly at Morecambe North and South but declined at Heysham, the closest bathing site to the new outfall. Numbers of thermophilic campylobacters were similar in both years, which is suggestive of their sources being different from those of the indicator bacteria. Campylobacter lari and urease-positive thermophilic campylobacters (UPTC) were the only species of Campylobacter isolated from Morecambe's bathing waters. Very low numbers of Salmonella were found, with Salm, arizonae the only species isolated.

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