EPA proposes new wastewater bacteria tests

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed testing for the presence of four types of bacteria in wastewater and sewage sludge.

It centres on culture-based approaches to detecting enterococci and E.coli in wastewater and salmonella and fecal coliform bacteria in sewage sludge.

These bacteria are seen as "health indicators" pointing to possible contamination and the need for further investigation and treatment.

Until now, no EPA-approved tests were available to detect these bacteria in wastewater. The new tests will yield results within 24 hours and provide treatment facilities with an indication of the effectiveness of their treatment techniques.

"These tools have proved reliable through extensive testing and verification. They will increase our confidence in test results that detect bacteria in waste water and sewage sludge," said EPA Assistant Administrator Ben Grumbles. "Once these procedures are in place, they will better protect the public, particularly children who are often more vulnerable to bacteria-caused illnesses in water."



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