Associations of chemical tracers and faecal indicator bacteria in a tropical urban catchment

Ekklesia, E., Shanahan, P., Chua, L. H. C. and Eikaas, H. S. 2015, Associations of chemical tracers and faecal indicator bacteria in a tropical urban catchment, Water research, vol. 75, pp. 270-281, doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2015.02.037.

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Title Associations of chemical tracers and faecal indicator bacteria in a tropical urban catchment
Author(s) Ekklesia, E.
Shanahan, P.
Chua, L. H. C.ORCID iD for Chua, L. H. C.
Eikaas, H. S.
Journal name Water research
Volume number 75
Start page 270
End page 281
Total pages 12
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2015-05-05
ISSN 0043-1354
Keyword(s) Association
Chemical tracers
Faecal indicator bacteria
Urban catchment
Summary Surface water contamination by human faecal wastes is a widespread hazard for human health. Faecal indicator bacteria (FIB) are the most widely used indicators to assess surface water quality but are less-human-specific and have the potential to survive longer and/or occur naturally in tropical areas. In this study, 13 wastewater chemicals (chloride, boron, orthosphophate, detergents as methylene blue active substances, cholesterol, cholestanol, coprostanol, diethylhexyl phthalate, caffeine, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, sucralose and saccharin) were investigated in order to evaluate tracers for human faecal and sewage contamination in tropical urban catchments. Surface water samples were collected at an hourly interval from sampling locations with distinct major land uses: high-density residential, low-density residential, commercial and industrial. Measured concentrations were analysed to investigate the association among indicators and tracers for each land-use category. Better correlations were found between different indicators and tracers in each land-use dataset than in the dataset for all land uses, which shows that land use is an important determinant of drain water quality. Data were further segregated based on the hourly FIB concentrations. There were better correlations between FIB and chemical tracers when FIB concentrations were higher. Therefore, sampling programs must be designed carefully to take the time of sampling and land use into account in order to effectively assess human faecal and sewage contamination in urban catchments. FIB is recommended as the first tier in assessment of surface water quality impairment and chemical tracers as the second tier. Acetaminophen and coprostanol are recommended as chemical tracers for high-density residential areas, while chloride, coprostanol and caffeine are recommended for low-density residential areas.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2015.02.037
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Elsevier
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