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Water Res. 2005 Sep;39(15):3565-78.

An analytical model of enterococci inactivation, grazing, and transport in the surf zone of a marine beach.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental and Water Studies, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-4020, USA.


An analytical model of enterococci (ENT) concentrations in the surf zone of a long sandy beach is constructed considering the physical processes of dilution by rip currents and alongshore littoral drift, and the biological processes of inactivation and mortality by grazing. The solution is used to construct an expression for the length of shoreline adversely impacted by ENT from a point source. Two non-dimensional parameters are developed whose magnitude can be used to ascertain whether dilution, inactivation, or grazing is the dominant sink for ENT in the surf zone. The model is applied to beaches in southern California, USA. Model input parameters related to physical processes and inactivation are compiled from the literature. Laboratory experiments are conducted to determine grazing mortality rates of ENT (6.5 x 10(-6) s(-1)). Results indicate that at the field sites, between 1000 and 5000 m of shoreline are typically impacted by a continuous point source of ENT. Dilution is the primary cause of decline in ENT concentrations within the surf zone, with inactivation secondary and grazing tertiary. Results recommend strategic positioning of point sources and timing of effluent releases to take advantage of high dilution conditions. Our estimates for grazing mortality rates are within the same order of magnitude as some published inactivation rates, thus we cannot rule out the possibility that grazing is an important sink for ENT, especially in low dilution environments like enclosed bays.

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