Fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) are commonly used to evaluate the pollution impact of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in urban rivers. Although water quality assessment with FIB has a long tradition, recent studies demonstrated that FIB have a low correlation with pathogens and therefore are not accurate enough for the assessment of potential human hazards in water. Consequently, new eligible and more specific indicators have to be identified, which was done in this study via sequencing of genetic markers from total community DNA. To identify potential microbiome-based indicators, microbial communities in samples from an urban river in Tokyo under different climatic conditions (dry and rainy) were compared with the influent and effluent of three domestic wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) by analyzing 16 S rRNA gene amplicon libraries. In the first part of this study, physicochemical parameters and FIB quantification with selective culture techniques facilitated the identification of samples contaminated with CSO, sewage, or both. This allowed the grouping of samples into CSO-contaminated and non-contaminated samples, an essential step prior to the microbiome comparison between samples. Increased turbidity, ammonia concentrations, and E. coli [up to (9.37 ± 0.95) × 102 CFU/mL after 11.5 mm of rainfall] were observed in CSO-contaminated river samples. Comparison of dry weather (including WWTP samples) and rainy weather samples showed a reduction in microbial diversity in CSO-contaminated samples. Furthermore, the results of this study suggest Bacteroides spp. as a novel indicator of sewage pollution in surface waters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- !!Waste Management and Disposal
- !!Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Environmental engineering