Faecal Source Tracking Strategy

Sample Collection | Cost of Analysis | Human Sources | Non-human Sources | Mixed Sources

When environmental waters record high levels of Escherichia coli and/or Enterococci the next step in water resource management is to identify likely source(s) of the faecal pollution.

A Site Survey  site survey of the particular waterway under investigation is the first step in deciding how to proceed with determining the sources of pollution. Identification of potential faecal contamination sources will aid water managers in requesting the appropriate tests from the ESR toolbox.

An ESR Sampling Request Form [PDF, 28 KB]can be sent, along with water samples, to outline relevant information for testing procedures.

Procedures for the collection and transport of water samples can be found here.

A series of three decision tree flow diagrams been developed that provide a stepwise progression for analysis of river water samples suspected of faecal pollution and which report high levels of E. coli. Once the investigator has determined the likely potential source of pollution the next step is to go to one of the following three tabs which outline decision tree processes for identifying faecal contamination from:

Each decision tree includes a colour coded system denoting the cost of analysis, the relative certainty associated with each test, and the timeframe for analysis. The colour coded system illustrates the cost, certainty and timeframe for individual tests and then for accrued testing regimes, so that the investigator can assess each individual step in the decision tree in relation to previous steps. It is foreseen that the guidance on the usage of these tools will avoid situations that have occurred in the past where environmental managers have requested the most expensive tools and which take the longest analysis time. It is envisaged that this process will allow environmental protection dollars to be used to their best advantage, and alleviate the long wait for certain test results, which may have delayed remediation of the pollution problem. Each decision tree page contains explanatory information to add context to the decision process and each tree is downloadable as a PDF from these pages.

Prices for all of these procedures can be found at Cost of analysis.

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