Reassessing the risk of microbial contamination from roosting cormorants in source water supply reservoirs

Smolders, Andrew, Smolders, Kate, Watkinson, Andrew and Ryder, Darren (2014) Reassessing the risk of microbial contamination from roosting cormorants in source water supply reservoirs. Lake and Reservoir Management, 30 1: 23-31. doi:10.1080/10402381.2013.866997

Author Smolders, Andrew
Smolders, Kate
Watkinson, Andrew
Ryder, Darren
Title Reassessing the risk of microbial contamination from roosting cormorants in source water supply reservoirs
Journal name Lake and Reservoir Management   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0743-8141
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/10402381.2013.866997
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 30
Issue 1
Start page 23
End page 31
Total pages 9
Place of publication Philadelphia, United States
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Language eng
Formatted abstract
A previous water quality risk assessment of source water supply reservoirs in subtropical southeast Queensland (Australia) evaluated little black cormorants (Phalocrocorax sulcirostris) roosting on intake infrastructure as potentially posing an extreme risk of microbial contamination through direct deposition of fecal matter to the aquatic environment. To evaluate this risk rating, we assessed populations of little black cormorants occupying 3 intake structures across 2 reservoirs, enumerated Escherichia coli (E. coli) levels collected from fecal matter, and estimated a daily E. coli load to the reservoir for each population. Concurrently, we supplemented the existing routine monthly water quality monitoring program with targeted water sampling to measure E. coli concentrations in water at the 3 water intake points and at 2 sites without extant cormorant populations. Up to 3.9 × 1014 E. coli organisms were estimated to be produced per day by the largest population surveyed. Cormorants were present at intake sites and absent from reference sites; however, concentrations of E. coli were not significantly higher in water at intake sites compared with reference sites (p = 0.793 vs. p = 0.1069, respectively), and there was no significant relationship (p = 0.9671) between cormorant numbers and water column concentrations of E. coli. The inability to quantify significant differences in microbial concentrations among sites suggests a more intensive sampling regime is required to clarify the relative contribution of contamination sources. Populations of roosting cormorants in our study reservoirs are unlikely to pose an extreme risk to source water quality when compared to other catchment-based inputs that dominate microbial pollution.
Keyword Cormorants
E. coli
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Civil Engineering Publications
Official 2015 Collection
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