Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protecting Beaches From Agricultural Pollution

Date:
September 4, 2007
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
Bathing beaches and lakes in Europe could fail the new cleanliness standards set by the 2006 Bathing Waters Directive, but a new risk assessment tool developed by rural studies and water management experts may help reduce the transfer of disease causing bacteria from the farmed environment, according to scientists.

Bathing beaches and lakes could fail the new cleanliness standards set by the 2006 Bathing Waters Directive, but a new risk assessment tool developed by rural studies and water management experts may help reduce the transfer of disease causing bacteria from the farmed environment, according to scientists.

The British government and other European Union countries brought in a revised Bathing Waters Directive last year with more stringent standards for the quality of our recreational waters including bathing beaches, inland lakes and rivers. Together with the new European Union Water Framework Directive which must be enforced from 2015, experts expect that the quality of bathing, surface and ground water will become much more of an important issue in the near future.

"We already see some designated bathing sites failing the standards," says Dr Chris Hodgson from the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) at North Wyke Research Station near Okehampton in Devon. "Partly this can be attributed to low level but widespread sources of contaminated water run-off from agricultural land."

"This run-off contains harmful and disease-causing bacteria, and typically follows the recycling of livestock manures such as slurry spreading on fields, and from uncontained runoff from farmyards, or from direct faecal deposition by sheep, cattle and other animals as they graze" says Dr Hodgson.

With funding from the Rural Economy and Land Use programme (RELU), the scientists from IGER, Exeter and Lancaster universities have developed a method, called an expert-weighted risk tool, to rank fields and farmyards for the likelihood of indicator bacteria such as E. coli, which they know are only found in faeces and slurries, being transferred to rivers and streams at different times of the year.

Their method was tested on two working farms, and in one the farmyard was identified as having the greatest risk of the bacteria transferring to a stream, while on the second farm the fields posed the greatest risk.

"By checking the concentrations of the indicator bacteria in streams and ditches around the farms we gathered the physical evidence that proved that our expert--weighted risk tool actually works," says Dr Hodgson.

Because the new system calculates relative spatial risk, rather than being a quantitative predictive model which suggests specifically how much contamination will occur, the developers hope it will assist farmers and land owners to prioritise land that is most 'risky' in terms of contributing bacterial contamination to watercourses. This in turn will help focus clean-up and prevention efforts where they are likely to be most effective for improving water quality.

Overall the new tool should help to make recreational waters safer to use, increasing the confidence of tourists, local people and visitors, reducing the cases of illness from contaminated water, and helping to maintain rural communities.

Dr Hodgson is presenting the poster 'Assessing the impact of farm management practices on stream FIO loads using an evidence based approach' on Tuesday 04 September 2007 in the Plenary session of the 161st Meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, 03 - 06 September 2007.

The collaborators who have developed the expert-weighted risk tool include:

Dr Chris Hodgson and Dr Dave Chadwick, Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke Research Station, Okehampton, Devon;

Dr David Oliver and Professor Louise Heathwaite,, Centre for Sustainable Water Management, The Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University;

Dr Rob Fish and Professor Michael Winter, Centre for Rural Research, School of Geography, Archaeology & Earth Resources, University of Exeter, Devon


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Protecting Beaches From Agricultural Pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903204950.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2007, September 4). Protecting Beaches From Agricultural Pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903204950.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Protecting Beaches From Agricultural Pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903204950.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins