This research applied hydrological and hydrodynamic models for the purpose of simulating the transport of FIB, especially E. coli, from different bacterial sources (streambed sediment, nonpoint human and animal feces, and CSO from a marine outfall) to surface water and recreational beach. While simulating the FIB transports, this research conducted i) the module development in chapter 3, ii) assessment of land use change impact in chapter 4, iii) monitoring ARGs in chapter 5, and iv) scenario- based analysis in chapter 6. The main findings, limitations, and future work in each chapter are the following:
In chapter 3, the transport of E. coli from a streambed sediment to stream was studied. Main findings: The E. coli numbers in streambed sediment (range from 1.5 – 3 MPN ton-1) were released to stream (range from 0 – 3000 MPN 100mL-1). Existing SWAT model has a limitation to simulate E. coli numbers under a base flow condition. This study minimized the underestimation by additionally implementing the release of E. coli in streambed sediment via hyporheic exchange. Limitations: The hyporheic flow was assumed constant and E. coli numbers in streambed sediment was not measured but calibrated. Future works: This research will convert constant hyporheic flow to a dynamic variable based on subsurface flow. In addition, E. coli numbers in streambed sediment of the study area will be measured and the measured E. coli numbers will improve the model accuracy.
In chapter 4, the transport of E. coli from nonpoint human and animal feces on soil surface to stream was studied, with consideration of land use change. Main findings: Land use change affected the spatial distribution of feces sources and initial E. coli numbers in three phases. However, the transport of E. coli was majorly influenced by rainfall rather than by land use. Limitations: The duration of land use change in this study was short (3 years) and the change was not obvious over years. Future works:
The influence of land use change on E. coli transport will be assessed on a watershed where the land use change is distinct.
In chapter 5, the concentration of E. coli and ARGs in CSO discharged from a marine outfall and recreational beach were monitored as a preliminary work for chapter 6. Main findings: The CSO discharged during rainfall events and ebb tide levels dramatically increased the concentration of E. coli and ARGs in a recreational beach. Certain ARGs were related to E. coli while the others were possibly associated to other host bacteria rather than E. coli. Limitations: The number of samplings was not enough to generalize the conclusion. Future works: Additional samplings are ongoing and next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis is being conducted to determine host bacteria for each ARG.
In chapter 6, the transports of E. coli and ARGs in CSO discharged from a marine outfall to a recreational beach were studied. Main findings: The developed model predicted the spatiotemporal variations of E. coli and ARGs on the recreational beach. Additionally, this study estimated several
extend outfall scenarios with different locations and depths, thereby determining the effective design of marine outfall in reducing concentration of E. coli and ARGs in a recreational beach. Limitations: The die-off parameter for E. coli was identically used for ARGs. Future works: Using NGS result, die-off parameters will be calibrated for specified host bacteria for ARGs.
In summary, bacteria from streambed sediment were transported to stream via resuspension and hyporheic exchange. Resuspension increased the mobilization of bacteria during the wet season, while hyporheic exchange consistently released bacteria even during the dry season. Second, bacteria from nonpoint sources were transported to stream via surface runoff. The amount of runoff was more influenced by rainfall than the characteristics of land use. Last, bacteria in CSO from a marine outfall were transported to coastal area via tidal flow. CSO occurred during rainfall events and ebb tide level.
The location of a marine outfall should be carefully decided considering the surrounding terrains that affect the direction of tidal flow.
Throughout the research, E. coli, a representative FIB, was used as an alternative of bacteria pathogens. Although it have been frequently used in not only previous research but also international water quality standard, recent studies have reported a poor correlation of FIB numbers to a concentration of pathogens due to different survival rates of FIB and pathogens (Anderson et al. 2005; Horman et al.
2004; Ishii et al. 2014). In addition, the concentration of ARGs does not necessarily demonstrate the potential health risk, because ARGs can exist in both pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria (Darehabi et al. 2013). Therefore, quantifying pathogens should be performed in the future to determine the actual correlation between FIB and pathogens, and to conclude the resultant potential health risk.
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