Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 81, Issue 1–3, pp 301–312 | Cite as

Comparison of Beach Bacterial Water Quality Indicator Measurement Methods

  • Rachel T. Noble
  • Stephen B. Weisberg
  • Molly K. Leecaster
  • Charles D. McGee
  • Kerry Ritter
  • Kathy O. Walker
  • Patricia M. Vainik
Article

Abstract

Three methods (membrane filtration, multiple tube fermentation, and chromogenic substrate technology kits manufactured by IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.) are routinely used to measure indicator bacteria for beach water quality. To assess comparability of these methods, quantify within-laboratory variability for each method, and place that variability into context of variability among laboratories using the same method, 22 southern California laboratories participated in a series of intercalibration exercises. Each laboratory processed three to five replicates from thirteen samples, with total coliforms, fecal coliforms or enterococci measured depending on the sample. Results were generally comparable among methods, though membrane filtration appeared to underestimate the other two methods for fecal coliforms, possibly due to clumping. Variability was greatest for the multiple tube fermentation method. For all three methods, within laboratory variability was greater than among laboratories variability.

microbiology intercalibration variability bacterial indicators beach water quality 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel T. Noble
    • 1
  • Stephen B. Weisberg
    • 2
  • Molly K. Leecaster
    • 3
  • Charles D. McGee
    • 4
  • Kerry Ritter
    • 2
  • Kathy O. Walker
    • 5
  • Patricia M. Vainik
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute for Marine SciencesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillMorehead CityUSA
  2. 2.Southern California Coastal Water Research ProjectWestminsterUSA
  3. 3.Idaho National Engineering and Environmental LaboratoriesIdaho FallsUSA
  4. 4.Orange County Sanitation DistrictFountain ValleyUSA
  5. 5.Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles CountyCarsonUSA
  6. 6.City of San Diego Metropolitan Wastewater DepartmentSan DiegoUSA

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