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sector_ico_Environment_trans Environment

Bacterial Source Tracking to improve the health of two urban streams in Vernon, B.C.

  • Project Leaders: Asit Mazumder, Mark Dowhaniuk
  • Institutions: University of Victoria (UVic)
  • Budget: $198,000
  • Competition: User Partnership Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome BC
  • Fiscal Year: 2016
  • Status: Active

The City of Vernon is challenged by degradation of its urban streams resulting from fecal contamination of surface water used for drinking and recreation. Existing standard testing practices, such as basic count for E. coli, have limitations in establishing baseline conditions for water quality. The City is partnering with a research lab at the University of Victoria to detect traces of animal sources of E. coli in two urban streams using a highly discriminatory yet economical DNA fingerprinting technique. This project aims to develop a standard operating procedure for interpreting genomic data from water samples to determine level and sources of E. coli contamination. The project will also deliver a database which will map urban, agricultural and wildlife sources of bacterial indicator pollution in Vernon. The BC Centre for Disease Control will be involved as an external advissr, and the outcomes of the project will inform the City about land uses, effectiveness of storm water infrastructure, and help prioritize resources for appropriate location-based mitigations to improve urban stream health.