Contamination of groundwater by enteric pathogens has commonly been associated with disease outbreaks. Proper management and treatment of pathogen sources are important prerequisites for preventing groundwater contamination. However, non-point sources of pathogen contamination are frequently difficult to identify, and existing approaches for pathogen detection are costly and only provide semi-quantitative information. Microbial indicators that are readily quantified often do not correlate with the presence of pathogens. Pathogens of emerging concern and increasing detections of antibiotic resistance among bacterial pathogens in groundwater are topics of growing concern. Adequate removal of pathogens during soil passage is therefore critical for safe groundwater extraction. Processes that enhance pathogen transport (e.g., high velocity zones and preferential flow) and diminish pathogen removal (e.g., reversible retention and enhanced survival) are of special concern because they increase the risk of groundwater contamination, but are still incompletely understood. Improved theory and modeling tools are needed to analyze experimental data, test hypotheses, understand coupled processes and controlling mechanisms, predict spatial and/or temporal variability in model parameters and uncertainty in pathogen concentrations, assess risk, and develop mitigation and best management approaches to protect groundwater.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Future research needs involving pathogens in groundwater|
|Series title||Hydrogeology Journal|
|Contributing office(s)||National Research Program - Central Branch, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program|