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Open AccessArticle

Assessing Risk of E. coli Resuspension from Intertidal Estuarine Sediments: Implications for Water Quality

1
Sediment Ecology Research Group, Scottish Oceans Institute, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, East Sands, St. Andrews KY16 8LB, UK
2
Environmental and Biological Sciences Group; The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
3
Coastal Research Group, Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6139, South Africa
4
Lancaster Environment Centre; Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancashire LA14YQ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3255; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183255
Received: 6 August 2019 / Revised: 28 August 2019 / Accepted: 3 September 2019 / Published: 5 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diffuse Water Pollution Modeling, Monitoring and Mitigation)
Estuarine sediments are a reservoir for faecal bacteria, such as E. coli, where they reside at greater concentrations and for longer periods than in the overlying water. Faecal bacteria in sediments do not usually pose significant risk to human health until resuspended into the water column, where transmission routes to humans are facilitated. The erosion resistance and corresponding E. coli loading of intertidal estuarine sediments was monitored in two Scottish estuaries to identify sediments that posed a risk of resuspending large amounts of E. coli. In addition, models were constructed in an attempt to identify sediment characteristics leading to higher erosion resistance. Sediments that exhibited low erosion resistance and a high E. coli loading occurred in the upper- and mid-reaches of the estuaries where sediments had higher organic content and smaller particle sizes, and arose predominantly during winter and autumn, with some incidences during summer. Models using sediment characteristics explained 57.2% and 35.7% of sediment shear strength and surface stability variance respectively, with organic matter content and season being important factors for both. However large proportions of the variance remained unexplained. Sediments that posed a risk of resuspending high amounts of faecal bacteria could be characterised by season and sediment type, and this should be considered in the future modelling of bathing water quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: estuarine sediment; intertidal; cohesive sediment; sediment stability; erosion; faecal contamination; E. coli; faecal indicator organism (FIO); bathing waters; water quality estuarine sediment; intertidal; cohesive sediment; sediment stability; erosion; faecal contamination; E. coli; faecal indicator organism (FIO); bathing waters; water quality
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wyness, A.J.; Paterson, D.M.; Rimmer, J.E.V.; Defew, E.C.; Stutter, M.I.; Avery, L.M. Assessing Risk of E. coli Resuspension from Intertidal Estuarine Sediments: Implications for Water Quality. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3255. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183255

AMA Style

Wyness AJ, Paterson DM, Rimmer JEV, Defew EC, Stutter MI, Avery LM. Assessing Risk of E. coli Resuspension from Intertidal Estuarine Sediments: Implications for Water Quality. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(18):3255. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183255

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wyness, Adam J.; Paterson, David M.; Rimmer, James E.V.; Defew, Emma C.; Stutter, Marc I.; Avery, Lisa M. 2019. "Assessing Risk of E. coli Resuspension from Intertidal Estuarine Sediments: Implications for Water Quality" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 18: 3255. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183255

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