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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2004 Oct 22-Nov 26;67(20-22):1765-77.

Urban wet-weather flows: sources of fecal contamination impacting on recreational waters and threatening drinking-water sources.

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National Water Research Institute, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.


Discharges of urban stormwater and combined sewer overflows (CSOs) contribute to fecal contamination of urban waters and need to be considered in planning the protection of recreational waters and sources of drinking water. Stormwater characterization indicates that Escherichia coli counts in stormwater typically range from 103 to 104 units per 100 ml. Higher counts (10(5) units/100 ml) suggest the presence of cross-connections with sanitary sewers, and such connections should be identified and corrected. Fecal contamination of stormwater may be attenuated prior to discharge into surface waters by stormwater management measures, which typically remove suspended solids and attached bacteria. Exceptionally, stormwater discharges in the vicinity of swimming beaches are disinfected. The levels of indicator bacteria in CSOs can be as high as 10(6) E. coli per 100 ml. Consequently, the abatement of fecal contamination of CSOs is now considered in the design of CSO control and treatment, as for example stipulated in the Ontario Procedure F-5-5. CSO abatement options comprise combin ations of storage and treatment, in which the CSO treatment generally includes disinfection by ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. Finally, indicator bacteria data from Sarnia (Ontario) were used to demonstrate some fecal contamination impacts of wet-weather flows. In wet weather, the microbiological quality of riverine water worsened as a result of CSO and stormwater discharges, and the recreational water guidelines for indicator organisms were exceeded most of the time. Local improvements in water quality were feasible by source controls and diversion of polluted water.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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