Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012MN316B

Identification of Municipal Wastewater as a Key Reservoir of Antibiotic Resistance: Itasca State Park as a Model System

Institute: Minnesota
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $84,104 Total Non-Federal Funds: $154,710

Principal Investigators: Timothy LaPara

Abstract: Antibiotics have profoundly impacted medical practice, as these drugs can successfully eradicate most bacterial infections. Even though municipal wastewater has been clearly and repeatedly shown to contain antibiotic resistant bacteria, the scientific community and general public have generally failed to recognize municipal wastewater as a principal reservoir of antibiotic resistance. The proposed research will compare the quantity of antibiotic resistance genes in the wastewater treatment lagoon at Itasca State Park with four nearby lakes. This research will help demonstrate the importance of municipal wastewater as a reservoir of antibiotic resistance and demonstrate the potential opportunity for rigorous wastewater treatment to ameliorate this reservoir of resistance. This research will be particularly important as increasingly greater quantities of wastewater are reused for irrigation, process cooling water, or even as a source for drinking water.