Environmental Protection

WERF Seeks Research Proposals to Compare FIB Methods

The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is now accepting proposals for research that will lead to a better understanding of the relationship and application of molecular and cultural-based methods for pathogen indicators in inland recreational waters.

The research results will inform efforts to revise health-based recreational ambient water quality criteria under the Clean Water Act.

Proposals must be received by 5 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 14.

WERF is providing funding for researchers to generate and interpret data to evaluate molecular and culture-based methods for fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) for use in inland recreational waters. The results will contribute to the understanding of the sources, levels, and occurrence of FIB in inland waters impacted by publicly owned treatment works’ effluents and other point discharges and nonpoint sources. The research results will inform the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to revise water quality criteria for pathogens and pathogen indicators.

WERF anticipates providing up to $300,000 for this research effort. It is expected that proposers will bring additional resources (cash or in-kind) to successfully complete the project.

"EPA's new criteria will be the basis for advice to protect public health during recreational uses of waters nationwide, as well as the target for many pollution control efforts to protect those uses,” says Keith Linn, an environmental specialist for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and WERF Research Council member. “It's evident that molecular methods will have an important role to play in implementing the criteria, and this WERF research should ensure that such implementation will have the best possible scientific basis."

The research will focus on using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis performed in parallel with currently used and approved culture methods. The study will include the following components:

  • Generate data on the concentrations of FIB (Enterococcus spp., Escherichia coli, and Bacteroides spp.) in inland receiving waters (IRW) impacted by POTW effluents, municipal stormwater system discharges, surface runoff, bypasses, and other sources.
  • Sample and analyze FIB in various effluents and source(s) and in IRW before and after representative discharges or precipitation events.
  • Interpret, compare, and contrast the relationship between qPCR and culture data for FIB and other measured variables.

The complete request for proposals, with instructions, can be viewed at www.werf.org.

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