Alternative Microbial Indicators of Surface Water Quality

The Challenge

To monitor human fecal contamination in surface water, bacterial fecal indicator organisms (FIOs) are traditionally used. However, because FIOs are not specific to human or animal sources and do not correlate well with pathogens that cause human illness, alternative fecal indicators detected using qPCR are becoming of interest to policymakers.

Project Overview

The goal of the current research is to investigate the utility of human sewage markers such as Human Bacteroides as an alternative indicator to investigate sources of human fecal contamination in the Philadelphia watershed. We are collaborating with the Philadelphia Water Department to build their capacity in measuring alternative indicators using qPCR methods.


Area of Research

Funding By

Philadelphia Water Department



Team Members

Shannon McGinnis
Alexis Mraz
Debbie Lee
Keri Klinges
Aurora Trainor
Alex Cagle
Anu Ninan
Dana Macfarlane

Partners and Collaborators