Statewide quantitative microbial risk assessment for waterborne viruses, bacteria, and protozoa in public water supply wells in Minnesota

Environmental Science & Technology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Infection risk from waterborne pathogens can be estimated via quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) and forms an important consideration in the management of public groundwater systems. However, few groundwater QMRAs use site-specific hazard identification and exposure assessment, so prevailing risks in these systems remain poorly defined. We estimated the infection risk for 9 waterborne pathogens based on a 2-year pathogen occurrence study in which 964 water samples were collected from 145 public wells throughout Minnesota, USA. Annual risk across all nine pathogens combined was 3.3 × 10–1 (95% CI: 2.3 × 10–1 to 4.2 × 10–1), 3.9 × 10–2 (2.3 × 10–2 to 5.4 × 10–2), and 1.2 × 10–1 (2.6 × 10–2 to 2.7 × 10–1) infections person–1 year–1 for noncommunity, nondisinfecting community, and disinfecting community wells, respectively. Risk estimates exceeded the U.S. benchmark of 10–4 infections person–1 year–1 in 59% of well-years, indicating that the risk was widespread. While the annual risk for all pathogens combined was relatively high, the average daily doses for individual pathogens were low, indicating that significant risk results from sporadic pathogen exposure. Cryptosporidium dominated annual risk, so improved identification of wells susceptible to Cryptosporidium contamination may be important for risk mitigation.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Statewide quantitative microbial risk assessment for waterborne viruses, bacteria, and protozoa in public water supply wells in Minnesota
Series title Environmental Science & Technology
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.1c06472
Edition Online First
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher ACS Publications
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Water Science Center
Description 10 p.
Country United States
State Minnesota
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