Afolabi EO, Quilliam RS & Oliver DM (2023) Persistence of E. coli in Streambed Sediment Contaminated with Faeces from Dairy Cows, Geese, and Deer: Legacy Risks to Environment and Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20 (7), Art. No.: 5375. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20075375
Legacy stores of faecal pollution in streambed sediments can result in delayed impacts on environmental quality and human health if resuspended into the overlying water column. Different catchment sources of faecal pollution can contribute to a legacy store of microbial pollutants, with size of stores influenced by microbial die-off and faecal accrual rates in the streambed. The aim of this study was to use a mesocosm experiment to characterise the persistence of E. coli derived from faeces of dairy cows, deer, and geese once introduced to streambed sediment under different temperature regimes. The settling rate of solid constituents of faecal material into streambed sediment once delivered into an aquatic environment was also quantified. The persistence patterns of E. coli in streambed sediment were found to vary as a function of faecal source and temperature; die-off of E. coli in sediment contaminated with goose faeces was more rapid than in sediments contaminated with dairy cow or deer faeces. Goose faeces also recorded a more rapid settling rate of faecal particles through the water column relative to dairy cow and deer faeces, suggesting a more efficient delivery of E. coli to streambed sediments associated with this faecal source. Our findings provide new evidence to improve understanding of the potential longer-term risks to both the environment and public health posed by sediments when contaminated with livestock, wildlife, and wildfowl faeces.
die-off; faecal indicator organism; mesocosm; river pollution; water quality; wildlife
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Volume 20, Issue 7
|Publication date online||03/04/2023|
|Date accepted by journal||16/03/2023|