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Microbial Contamination in Environmental Waters of Rural and Agriculturally-Dominated Landscapes following Hurricane Florence

Citation

Harris, Angela R.; Fidan, Emine N.; Nelson, Natalie G.; Emanuel, Ryan E.; Jass, Theo; Kathariou, Sophia; Niedermeyer, Jeffrey; Sharara, Mahmoud; de los Reyes, Francis Lajara; & Riveros-Iregui, Diego A., et al. (2021). Microbial Contamination in Environmental Waters of Rural and Agriculturally-Dominated Landscapes following Hurricane Florence. ACS ES&T Water, 1(9), 2012-2019.

Abstract

Hurricane Florence brought unprecedented rainfall and flooding to Eastern North Carolina in 2018. Extensive flooding had the potential to mobilize microbial contaminants from a variety of sources. Our study evaluated microbial contaminants in surface waters at 40 sites across Eastern North Carolina 1 week after the hurricane made landfall (Phase 1) and one month later (Phase 2). High concentrations of Escherichia coli were detected in flowing channel and floodwater samples across both phases; however, channel samples during Phase 2 had higher concentrations of E. coli compared to Phase 1. Human- and swine-associated fecal markers were detected in 26% and 9% of samples, respectively, with no trends related to phase of sampling. Arcobacter butzleri was previously shown to be recovered from most (73%) samples, and detection of this pathogen was not associated with any source-associated fecal marker. Detection of Listeria spp. was associated with the swine-associated fecal marker. These results suggest that improved swine and human feces management should be explored to prevent microbial contamination in surface water, especially in regions where extreme rainfall may increase due to climate change. Sampling at higher frequency surrounding rainfall events would provide more detailed characterization of the risks posed by floodwater at different time scales and under different antecedent conditions.

URL

https://doi.org/10.1021/acsestwater.1c00103

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2021

Journal Title

ACS ES&T Water

Author(s)

Harris, Angela R.
Fidan, Emine N.
Nelson, Natalie G.
Emanuel, Ryan E.
Jass, Theo
Kathariou, Sophia
Niedermeyer, Jeffrey
Sharara, Mahmoud
de los Reyes, Francis Lajara
Riveros-Iregui, Diego A.
Stewart, Jill R.

Article Type

Regular

Continent/Country

United States of America

State

North Carolina

ORCiD

Stewart, J - 0000-0002-3474-5233