Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment for Contaminated Private Wells in the Fractured Dolomite Aquifer of Kewaunee County, Wisconsin.

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From: Environmental Health Perspectives(Vol. 129, Issue 6)
Publisher: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Document Type: Report
Length: 8,827 words
Lexile Measure: 1650L

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Abstract :

Background: Private wells are an important source of drinking water in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. Due to the region's fractured dolomite aquifer, these wells are vulnerable to contamination by human and zoonotic gastrointestinal pathogens originating from land- applied cattle manure and private septic systems. OBJECTIVE: We determined the magnitude of the health burden associated with contamination of private wells in Kewaunee County by feces-borne gastrointestinal pathogens. Methods: This study used data from a year-long countywide pathogen occurrence study as inputs into a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) to predict the total cases of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) caused by private well contamination in the county. Microbial source tracking was used to associate predicted cases of illness with bovine, human, or unknown fecal sources. Results: Results suggest that private well contamination could be responsible for as many as 301 AGI cases per year in Kewaunee County, and that 230 and 12 cases per year were associated with a bovine and human fecal source, respectively. Furthermore, Cryptosporidium parvum was predicted to cause 190 cases per year, the most out of all 8 pathogens included in the QMRA. Discussion: This study has important implications for land use and water resource management in Kewaunee County and informs the public health impacts of consuming drinking water produced in other similarly vulnerable hydrogeological settings. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP7815

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A667734650