My local rag profiles investigators who are using DNA and other advanced technologies to track down sources of water pollution. Here’s a bit:
After the qPCR results signaled bacteria excreted by humans in some of the Wayne Creek samples, Gonzalez and his team began the really hard work: trying to figure out where, in the miles of often-overlapping sewer and stormwater pipes, a leak or leaks had occurred.
They tested seven more times over the next six months, narrowing in on concentrations of HF183 – a genetic marker for bacteria specific to human waste – in a couple of connected legs of a stormwater line. The source trackers wondered whether septic tanks still in use by some homes might be at least partly to blame. But the largest hits were detected near one of the city’s sewage pump stations.
Could there be a break there?
Yes, it turned out.