Title of Project

Investigation of Fecal Contamination of Urban Tidal Flood Water in Southeast Florida

Researcher Information

Hyo Won Lee

Project Type


Start Date

7-4-2017 12:00 AM

End Date

7-4-2017 12:00 AM

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Apr 7th, 12:00 AM Apr 7th, 12:00 AM

Investigation of Fecal Contamination of Urban Tidal Flood Water in Southeast Florida

Since many diseases can spread through water-borne transmission, water quality management is a big part of public health. Contamination of water by exposure to human or animal feces represents a potentially high public health risk for spread of fecal related pathogens. Thus, good water quality management seeks to better ensure the cleanliness and safety of water that people and the environment are exposed to. Due to sea level rise, tidal flooding is becoming an increasingly serious problem for coastal populations, a result of more frequent flooding of contaminated coastal landscapes. Therefore coastal flooding is a problem due to both the volume of floodwater and the impacts on coastal water quality. In the case of Southeast Florida, tidal flood water can also come up through porous limestone bedrock and soil, picking up a variety of chemical and microbial contaminants, including pathogens from leaking sewage and septic systems. For this project, tidal floodwater samples were collected during “King Tide” and “Super-moon” flooding from streets, canals, and from pumps discharging floodwater at different locations within the City of Miami Beach and the City of Fort Lauderdale. Fecal indicator bacteria in floodwater samples were measured using the EPA method 1600 mEI plate counts. Many floodwater samples were found to contain elevated or highly elevated levels of fecal indicator bacteria above regulatory limits for receiving waters and the concentration in the receiving water was typically higher while the pumps were discharging.