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Faecal waste and the natural environment: Water quality and epidemiological implications

Lepesteur, M., Pond, D., McComb, A., Ho, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812 and Moore, S.A. (2003) Faecal waste and the natural environment: Water quality and epidemiological implications. In: ORBIT 2003 Organic Recovery and BIological Treatment Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of ORBIT Association on Biological Processing of Organics: Advances for a Sustainable Society, 30 April - 2 May 2003, Perth, Western Australia

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With the development of coastal areas, microbial water quality and its implication for the health of recreational users is an emerging public health issue. A survey was undertaken of faecal contamination levels resulting from poor agricultural and urban waste management in the Peel Harvey estuarine system in Western Australia. Indicator levels were compared to maximum values recommended by Australian and international guidelines. Exposure to contamination was estimated though social surveys so that the health risk of the recreational population could be assessed.

Pathogen levels exceeded the guideline values recommended by NHMRC and WHO at most locations all year through. The social survey provided information of exposure of the population per age group. Only 31 % of the recreational users belonged to the healthy adult group upon which the QRA model is based, and the limitations of this approach are discussed, Conclusions were drawn on the implications of poor waste management practices on water recreational users' health and on the validity of the current national and international guidelines.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Notes: In: Pullammanappallil, P., McComb, A., Diaz, L.F. and Bidlingmaier, W. (eds), ORBIT 2003 : organic recovery and biological treatment : proceedings of the fourth International Conference of ORBIT Association on biological processing of organics : advances for a sustainable society : 30 April-2 May 2003, Perth, Australia, pp P81-P91.
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