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Assessment of Fecal Contamination in Oklahoma Water Systems through the Use of Sterol Fingerprints

1
ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
2
Université de Lorraine, LIEC, UMR7360, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy 54506, France
3
CNRS, LIEC, UMR7360, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy 54506, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Yu-Pin Lin
Environments 2016, 3(4), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments3040028
Received: 14 June 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
Fecal contamination is a major concern for water quality management, since the fecal materials are associated with pathogens that can cause illness wherever water is used for recreational, drinking and aquaculture purposes. In order to monitor source(s) of fecal contamination in Oklahoma water systems, sterol profiles were previously examined in rural and urban samples collected from the Illinois River Basin and the Norman Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), respectively. Two distinctive, qualitatively and quantitatively, sterol fingerprints were recognized. Despite the effective removal of organic material by the Norman WWTP, human-derived sterol fingerprints, characterized by a predominance of fecal stanols such as coprostanol, were still significant in the output from the plant. The source of fecal material in the Illinois River samples (rural) was defined as being characteristic of corn-feed chicken manure originating from surrounding feedlots through the principal component analysis (PCA) of the sterol distributions and carbon compound specific isotope analysis of selected sterols (CSIA, δ13C). Thiosteranes, formed during sludge treatments, were also shown to be useful tracers for monitoring sludge application in agriculture fields. The results obtained were used to provide water management authorities with qualitative insights into the source of fecal material inputs into the environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: fecal contamination; sterol fingerprints; sterol ratios; compound specific isotope analysis; water quality fecal contamination; sterol fingerprints; sterol ratios; compound specific isotope analysis; water quality
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Lu, Y.; Philp, R.P.; Biache, C. Assessment of Fecal Contamination in Oklahoma Water Systems through the Use of Sterol Fingerprints. Environments 2016, 3, 28.

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