Monitoring Turbidity In Ground Water Resources To Assess Risk Of Waterborne Pathogen Exposure

Correlations between turbidity and microbiological water quality are frequently observed in surface water systems, where storm events tend to elevate turbidity and microbial load concurrently in surface waters. In contrast, the relationship between turbidity and pathogens in groundwater sources is not as clear, as turbidity can result from surface water intrusion or could be generated within aquifers as a result of lithology-dependent chemical reactions and hydraulic processes. This study involves a review of the utility of turbidity monitoring in groundwater resources used for drinking water distribution in Nova Scotia in. The study has three components:

  1. a comprehensive, literature review pertaining to turbidity and microbial monitoring in groundwater sources in relation to waterborne pathogen risk,
  2. a statistical analysis of historical groundwater quality data correlating turbidity with geochemical and organic constituents, and
  3. identification of knowledge gaps pertaining to groundwater microbial quality monitoring in Nova Scotia by summarizing groundwater monitoring frameworks, identifying candidate microbial, organic and inorganic indicators that can be used to indicate pathogen risk in groundwater, and outlining research needs to evaluate the appropriateness of the proposed groundwater parameters for assessing pathogen exposure risk.