U.S. Water News Online
REHOBETH, Del. -- Delaware scientists this summer plan to
use DNA tests that eventually could be used to determine specific
The information could then be used to post warnings for swimmers
In a three-prong testing program, the state will increase the
number of test sites in the inland bays to include boat launch areas
and spots where creeks empty into Rehoboth, Little Assawoman and
Indian River bays.
The state also will test for specific microorganisms and viruses
that could make people sick and continue sampling key spots in the
Inland Bays for harmful algaes and potentially toxic microbes.
Over the next several years, the testing will give a comprehensive
look at pollution in waters that are widely used by swimmers and
boaters, said Jack Pingree, manager of the state shellfish and
recreational water branch for the Department of Natural Resources and
``Virtually every water body in the state has high bacterial
loads,'' said Sam Myoda, a state environmental engineer. ``We want to
find out why.''
The data will eventually be used to set maximum daily pollution
limits for water ways.
Pingree said it could ultimately play an important role in
Myoda will work with the state Division of Public Health and the
University of Delaware to begin sampling potential sources of
They plan to look at everything from specific sewer plant
discharges and septic systems to manure from chickens, sea gulls and
even dogs and cats.
They will use DNA testing to find the identifying markers that
distinguish the human waste treated at the Rehoboth Beach Waste Water
Treatment Plant from that of sea gulls and chickens.
Myoda said they plan to create a library of data that can be used
to broadly identify sources of pollution.
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