Flooded Areas in Washington DC and Maryland May Lead to Sewage Contamination, Water Quality and Mold Problems
Torrential rainfall has caused massive flooding in the Washington metropolitan area. In areas where extreme flooding occurs, sewage contamination and mold usually follow. Environmental sewage contamination not only affects recreational water and buildings, but drinking water and food supplies as well.
“After a flood, many are concerned about health risks associated with sewage contamination,” states Diane Miskowski, Business Development Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “EMSL Analytical has developed three testing methods to determine the presence of fecal or sewage contamination: Total Bacteroides, Human Bacteriodes, and Human Polyomavirus.”
Total Bacteroides encompasses animal (mammalian) and human sources, while Human Bacteroides and Human Polyomavirus are for human sources only. The following are some quick guidelines on how to choose between the tests:
1) If the concern is contamination from surface water, river, or storm water after a flood, Total Bacteroides is the best choice. Runoff from streets (dog manure), manure-contaminated runoff from agricultural operations, and sanitary wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) overflows are a concern. Flooding increases the risk of human disease caused by both animal and human sources of contamination, so a test that detects both is needed.
2) If the concern is a toilet overflow or a backup/ overflow from a sanitary sewer (which handles only human discharges), then Human Bacteroides or Human Poyomavirus are the best choices. Using either of these tests, background contamination by animal Bacteroides from pets, re-used mops, soles of shoes, etc. is eliminated.
3) If the concern is the contamination from the backup or overflow of a combined sewer discharge, which contains both storm water and sanitary (human) discharges, then Total Bacteroides is the best choice.
4) If identification of the source of fecal contamination from groundwater under the influence of surface water is needed, the best choice is using both Total and Human Bacteroides. The difference in the results represents the amount contributed by all animal sources (e.g. farming operations). Using Total and Human Bacteroides, you will be able to determine what percentage of the contamination is from human and farming-related sources.
For more information on EMSL’s testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675 ext 2528, visit
www.EMSL.com, or email info@EMSL.com .
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, food, pharmaceutical, and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulatory agencies.
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- Contact Information
- Joe Frasca
- Senior Vice President of Marketing
- EMSL Analytical, Inc.
- (1) (856) 303-2503
- Contact via E-mail
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