Field study of the composition of greywater and comparison of microbiological indicators of water quality in on-site systems.
Water quality monitoring is essential for the provision of safe drinking water. In this study, we compared a selection of fecal indicators with universal Bacteroidales genetic marker to identify fecal pollution of a variety of drinking water sources. A total of 60 samples were collected from water sources. The microbiological parameters included total coliforms, fecal coliforms, Escherichia coli and fecal streptococci as the fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), Clostridium perfringens and H2S bacteria as alternative indicators, universal Bacteroidales genetic marker as a promising alternative fecal indicator, and Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., and E. coli O157 as pathogenic bacteria. From 60 samples analyzed, Bacteroidales was the most frequently detected indicator followed by total coliforms. However, the Bacteroidales assay failed to detect the marker in nine samples positive for FIB and other alternative indicators. The results of our study showed that the absence of Bacteroidales is not necessarily an evidence of fecal and pathogenic bacteria absence and may be unable to ensure the safety of the water. Further research, however, is required for a better understanding of the use of a Bacteroidales genetic marker as an indicator in water quality monitoring programs.