Usefulness of monitoring tropical streams for male-specific RNA coliphages
Luther, Kartini, and Roger Fujioka
The objective of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of monitoring streams in Hawaii for FRNA coliphages as a reliable indicator of sewage contamination. This study was undertaken as a result of our previous findings that monitoring streams in Hawaii for traditional faecal indicator bacteria (faecal coliform, Escherichia coll, enterococci) was not useful in determining when streams are contaminated with sewage, because environmental (soil) sources rather than sewage accounted for the high concentrations of faecal bacteria in streams. Two perennial streams, sewage and soil samples were monitored for traditional faecal indicator bacteria (faecal coliform, coll, enterococci) and FRNA coliphages. The results showed that sewage treatment processes and disinfection drastically reduced the concentrations of traditional faecal indicator bacteria but FRNA coliphages were still present in significant concentrations in the treated sewage effluents. These results indicate that monitoring sewage effluents and environmental waters for only traditional faecal indicator bacteria may not be adequately protective of human health effects. Ambient concentrations of traditional faecal indicator bacteria in soil and streams of Hawaii were consistently high but consistently low for FRNA coliphages, indicating that monitoring streams of Hawaii for FRNA coliphages can be used to determine when streams are contaminated with sewage.