EMAIL THIS PAGE TO A FRIEND

Water research

Microbial health risks associated with exposure to stormwater in a water plaza.


PMID 25706222

Abstract

Climate change scenarios predict an increase of intense rainfall events in summer in Western Europe. Current urban drainage systems cannot cope with such intense precipitation events. Cities are constructing stormwater storage facilities to prevent pluvial flooding. Combining storage with other functions, such as recreation, may lead to exposure to contaminants. This study assessed the microbial quality of rainwater collected in a water plaza and the health risks associated with recreational exposure. The water plaza collects street run-off, diverges first flush to the sewer system and stores the rest of the run-off in the plaza as open water. Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium and Legionella pneumophila were the pathogens investigated. Microbial source tracking tools were used to determine the origin (human, animal) of the intestinal pathogens. Cryptosporidium was not found in any sample. Campylobacter was found in all samples, with higher concentrations in samples containing human Bacteroides than in samples with zoonotic contamination (15 vs 3.7 gc (genomic copies)/100xa0mL). In both cases, the estimated disease risk associated with Campylobacter and recreational exposure was higher than the Dutch national incidence. This indicates that the health risk associated with recreational exposure to the water plaza is significant. L. pneumophila was found only in two out of ten pond samples. Legionnaire's disease risks were lower than the Dutch national incidence. Presence of human Bacteroides indicates possible cross-connections with the CSS that should be identified and removed.