Contributors to Faecal Water Contamination in Urban Environments

  • Lisa Paruch
  • Adam M. ParuchEmail author
Part of the Water Science and Technology Library book series (WSTL, volume 86)


Faecal contamination of water has both anthropogenic and zoogenic origins that can shade various point and nonpoint/diffuse sources of pollution. Due to the dual origin and number of sources of faecal contamination, there are immense challenges in the implementation of effective measures to protect water bodies from pollution that poses threats to human and environmental health. The main health threats refer to infections, illnesses and deaths caused by enteric pathogenic microbes, in particular those responsible for waterborne zoonoses. To detect and identify the origins and sources of faecal pollution simultaneously, various methods and indicators have been compiled into a comprehensive measuring toolbox. Molecular diagnostics using genetic markers derived from Bacteroidales 16S rRNA gene sequences are quite prevalent in the current methodological implementation for the identification of faecal contamination sources in water. For instance, a culture- and library-independent microbial source tracking toolbox combining micro- and molecular biology tests run as a three-step procedure has been implemented in Norway. Outcomes from the Norwegian studies have identified two general trends in dominance of contributors to faecal water contamination in urban environments. Firstly, there is a tendency of higher contributions from anthropogenic sources during the cold season. Secondly, the identification of the dominance of zoogenic sources in faecal water contamination during warm periods of the year.


Bacteroidales Faecal indicator bacteria Gene markers Microbial source tracking Water pollution 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Environment and Natural ResourcesNIBIO—Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy ResearchAasNorway

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