Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 473–488 | Cite as

Simulation tools to support bathing water quality management: Escherichia coli bacteria in a Baltic lagoon

  • Gerald SchernewskiEmail author
  • Elisabeth Fischer
  • Timo Huttula
  • Günter Jost
  • Monique Ras


Insufficient hygienic water quality and bathing prohibitions are still a serious problem in the Szczecin Lagoon (southern Baltic). In our study we focus on the southern lagoon coast and analyse the causes and consequences of high Escherichia coli bacteria concentrations. For this purpose we carry out laboratory experiments on the behaviour of E.coli in the lagoon, a literature review and apply a three-dimensional flow model together with a Lagrangian particle tracking routine. Three major E.coli sources, the Uecker river, the wetlands with cattle as well as sea gulls with bathing and fisheries were allocated, quantified and compiled into an emission scenario. This serves as input for transport simulations under different wind conditions and for the development of a spatial contamination map. Reasons for high E.coli concentrations in the lagoon are a permanent supply from different sources and the special environmental situation in the lagoon. The availability of organic matter, either in form of reed stems or as muddy sediments, has a positive effect on bacteria survival. Very important, too, are the prevailing wind and flow conditions, which cause water and organism transport in narrow ribbons along the coastline and promote near-shore accumulations. Even in our shallow lagoon, the application of a 3D-model is beneficial. Heavy rains are, very likely, responsible for the outstanding high total-coliform concentrations of 11,000 cfu/100 ml on August 21, 2006. The model system proved to be a valuable tool for spatial analysis and is suitable to support the development of bathing water profiles according to the EU Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC).


Szczecin Lagoon Microbial pollution Beach management Flow model Particle tracking Bathing Water Directive 



We like to thank the Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales (LAGuS) for providing the bathing water quality data, Daniel Depellegrin for some first preliminary analyses, Anna Meyer-Löbbeke for graphical input, Hannes Rennau, Richard Hofmeister, Hans Burchard and Karsten Bolding (Denmark) for support with GETM as well as Johan van der Molen (CEFAS, UK) for support with the particle tracking routine. The work was financially supported by the EU Seventh Framework Programme project GENESIS (GENeric European Sustainable Information Space for Environment, No. 223996) and the national BMBF-project IKZM-Oder III (03F0475A).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Schernewski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elisabeth Fischer
    • 1
  • Timo Huttula
    • 3
  • Günter Jost
    • 1
  • Monique Ras
    • 2
  1. 1.Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea ResearchRostockGermany
  2. 2.Laboratory of Environmental BiotechnologyNarbonneFrance
  3. 3.Department of Biological and Environmental ScienceUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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