State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2009TX322B
Title: Sources and Risks of Waterborne Pathogens in the El Paso del Norte Region
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2010
Congressional District: 16
Focus Categories: Surface Water, Treatment, Water Quality
Keywords: Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Microbial Source Tracking, Risk Assessment
Principal Investigators: Archuleta-Truesdale, Joy; Di Giovanni, George D
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 10,083
Abstract: Vigilant water quality monitoring is very important for compliance with government standards and in the interest of the public. The Rio Grande river is the natural boundary between the U.S. and Mexico and is the only source of surface water for the El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico area known as the El Paso del Norte region. Agriculture, farming, domestic activities, and effluent from local wastewater treatment plants increase the contamination potential of water supplies along the region. Monitoring of selected sites along the Rio Grande river has showed the occurrence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Higher pathogen levels were observed during the non-irrigation season when the river flow is dominated by wastewater effluents. This indicates that there could be an increased risk of using the river water as a source of drinking water during the winter if it is not properly treated. Therefore, the objective of this research is to determine the sources and risks of contamination in the Rio Grande river and assess the potential impact to human health. These efforts will aid our understanding of effective treatment of wastewater and drinking water. With this increased understanding, we will be able to make recommendations for wastewater and drinking water treatment, and aid in developing cost effective treatment strategies.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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