Dan, your point about enterococci is valid.. These tests confirm where there is a presence of total coliforms and E.coli bacteria only. You are judging the reliability of test procedures used however knowing what test was actually used here. The testing, for those scientifically inclined, was a multi-tube fermentation method which required a 24 hour incubation period to grow the bacteria. It is considered reliable for the testing of fresh water.
However, it does not test, as Dan points out, for enterococci, which has the ability to thrive in sea water, where E.coli thrives poorly. This does not negate the value of testing for E.coli on the beach, particularly when the test samples were taken close to the sewage discharge. I would suggest that the lack of E.coli suggests a relatively high level of dilution of of the contaminated water.
As well, It should be said that the presence of fecal contamination determines a "potential for disease" only. Nevertheless the presence of E.coli does strongly suggest the presence of pathogenic organisms, and therefore should be a cause for concern.
No claims are being made that the beach waters are totally safe for recreational use, particularly at this time of heavy storm water runoff. But they do test negative for total coliforms and E.coli bacteria.
Hopefully the further testing of waters by more sophisticated proceesses throw more light on the picture.
Message Thread | This response ↓
« Back to index | View thread »