Journal article
Persistence of fecal indicator bacteria in sediment of an oligotrophic river: Comparing large and lab-scale flume systems

Publication Details
Walters, E.; Kaetzl, K.; Schwarzwaeder, K.; Rutschmann, P.; Mueler, E.; Horn, H.
Publication year:
Water Research
Pages range:
Volume number:
Start page:
End page:
Number of pages:

20In this study, both a lab and a large-scale flume system were used to investigate the survival of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in bed sediments of an alpine oligotrophic river. To determine the influence of substratum on persistence, survival within 3-cm-deep substratum cages versus on thin, biofilm-covered ceramic tiles was tested. Moreover, the impact of bed shear stress on survival in bed sediments was explored.It was seen that in the lab-scale flume having a very low bed shear stress (0.3 N m(-2)), E. coli and enterococci survival in 3-cm-deep substratum cages was nearly the same as in a thin biofilm (200 mu m). However, in the large-scale flume system characterized by a bed shear stress of 9 N m(-2), the added protection of the deeper substratum cages promoted considerably longer survival of E. coli and enterococci than the thin biofilm. Additionally, the FIB removal mechanisms in the two flume systems varied. At the lab-scale, enterococci was seen to persist twice as long as E. call, while in the large-scale flume the two FIB were removed at the same rate. A comparison of qPCR analyses performed in both flumes suggests that bed sediment erosion and the influence of grazers/predators were responsible for FIB removal from the sediments in the large-scale flume, whereas in the lab flume FIB inactivation caused removal. These results indicate that hydraulic parameters such as bed shear stress as well as the presence of macroinvertebrates in a system are both important factors to consider when designing flumes as they can significantly impact FIB persistence in sediments of fast-flowing, alpine streams. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Bed shear stress, Biofilm, E. coli, Enterococci, Flow channel, Reservoir of pathogens

Last updated on 2020-01-05 at 15:30