Waterborne diseases are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in undeveloped and developing nations worldwide. In fact, it is estimated that over 3 million people die each year as a result of water contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. In developed nations, the delivery of a safe water supply is considered paramount in maintaining a healthy population; however, thousands of people are sickened each year in the United States as a result of contaminated drinking or recreational water.
The maintenance of a safe water supply requires routine monitoring for water quality “indicator organisms” (usually bacteria) that are used as a proxy for disease causing organisms. In the United States, for example, there is a zero tolerance for the presence of “coliform bacteria” in finished drinking water. Furthermore, fresh and marine recreational waters are routinely monitored for E. coli and enterococci bacteria.
Unfortunately, many pathogenic microorganisms can survive in the environment for longer periods of time than indicator bacteria. Furthermore, they are usually present in low numbers, have a low infectious dose, and are extremely difficult to detect. Therefore, indicator organisms do not always predict the presence of pathogens and the tests for them do not always protect human health.
Monitoring and detecting pathogens in environmental waters requires a high degree of expertise and require specialized training and equipment.
The Hydros Water Quality laboratory is equipped for the recovery and detection of all types of pathogens using state of the art methodology and equipment. Dr. Troy Scott is an environmental microbiologist and an international expert in the field of microbial source tracking, which is an emerging science designed to pinpoint specific sources of fecal pollution using advanced DNA and molecular biology techniques.
Human enteric viruses are often present in domestic sewage, treated wastewater, recreational surface waters, and biosolids intended for land application. The detection of viable viruses indicates the definite presence of fecal pollution and of human pathogens.
Our laboratory provides helminth and parasite detection services using standard USEPA methodologies and novel published procedures for the most sensitive and reliable results.
Microbial Source Tracking
Microbiological source tracking methods are potentially powerful tools that are increasingly being used to identify sources of fecal contamination. Dr. Troy M. Scott has developed innovative methods for source tracking, making HWQ a direct extension of industry leaders in this technology.
Client Confidentiality Policy:
We serve local, state, and government agencies as well as private and international customers and work closely with clients and regulatory agencies to resolve complex environmental issues. Our client’s needs are our primary concern, and although we work closely with government agencies, we are not a regulatory agency, nor do we report directly to any regulatory agency. Therefore, our primary and professional objective is to assist customers in maintaining proper quality assurance and quality control. We adhere to a strict confidentiality policy and data is never released without the specific, written consent of our clients.
Hydros Scientific Ethics Policy
At the core of Hydros Coastal Solutions, Inc. and Hydros Laboratories, LLC is a foundation of scientific integrity, innovation, and a dedication to preserving the integrity of all scientific activities conducted by its Directors, Employees, and Volunteers.
Specifically, all HCS Directors and Employees will:
- Conduct all scientific activities honestly, objectively, thoroughly, and expeditiously.
- Respect, to the fullest extent permitted by law, confidential and proprietary information provided by communities, Indian tribes, and individuals whose interests and resources are studied or affected by scientific activities or the resulting information.
- Maintain scientific integrity and will not engage in fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing or reviewing scientific activities or their products.
- Adhere to established quality assurance and quality control programs.
- Comply with all internal HCS policies related to use, security, and release of confidential and proprietary
- Use extreme care to differentiate among facts, opinions, hypotheses, and professional judgment in reporting the results of scientific activities to others, including scientists, decision makers, and the public.
- Place quality and objectivity of scientific activities and reporting of results ahead of personal gain or allegiance to individuals or organizations.
Environmental Virology (Enteric Viruses)
Human enteric viruses are often present in domestic sewage, treated wastewater, recreational surface waters, and biosolids intended for land application. The detection of viable enteric viruses indicates the definitive presence of fecal pollution and human pathogens.
The Hydros Water Quality Laboratory utilizes standard and innovative methodologies for the detection, enumeration, and identification of enteric viruses. We also provide high titer viral stocks for decontamination/inactivation testing. Our virologists are trained in the latest cell culture and molecular techniques to ensure the most reliable and informative results.
Helminths and protozoan parasites are very resistant to environmental conditions and to disinfection methods used in conventional water treatment; therefore, these organisms may be present in drinking water and water used for recreational purposes. Cryptosporidium and Giardia are enteric protozoan parasites that are of particular concern when present in drinking water as the presence of even a small number of Cryptosporidium oocysts or Giardia cysts poses a significant risk to human health as the dose required to cause infection is very low.
These parasites have been linked to numerous waterborne disease outbreaks and, in 1993, Cryptosporidium was responsible for the largest documented waterborne outbreak in the U.S. when over 400,000 people became ill in Milwaukee, WI due to inadequately treated drinking water. Ingestion of these parasites can cause acute gastrointestinal illness, and Cryptosporidium in particular has shown increased health effects in sensitive populations (e.g., infants, AIDS patients, the elderly), including death.
The Hydros Water Quality Laboratory provides helminth and parasite detection services using standard EPA methodologies and novel published procedures for the most sensitive and reliable results.
Microbial Source Tracking
Dr. Troy Scott is a pioneer and an international expert in the field of microbial source tracking. Microbial Source Tracking (MST) is a set of methods used to determine the sources (different animals or Human) that contribute fecal pollution to a water body. When high counts of fecal bacteria are present in a water source, it poses a serious health risk for the public as well as economic losses for industries relying on coastal waters.
The application of MST to risk assessment, total maximum daily load (TMDL) assessment, or beach monitoring provides a tool for identifying the source of the pollution and allows for appropriate remediation and preventative measures to be taken.
Fecal pollution can originate from point and non-point sources. Point (known) sources may include sewage, effluent from wastewater treatment plants, and stormwater/combined sewer overflow outfalls. Nonpoint (unknown) sources may include leaking septic systems or agriculture or wildlife runoffs where the entry point of contamination to surface waters is not obvious. Nonpoint sources are most apparent after storm events and are the cause of many water system impairments. If it is determined that the major contributor of the fecal pollution of a certain water system is Human, then compromised sewage or septic systems in the area should be the most probable cause. If the major contributor is cattle or other domestic farm animal, then nearby farms should be suspected.