New method could help pinpoint lake problemsSome people assumed nothing could be done to identify the source of the fecal contamination that caused a beach closure earlier this month at Lake Mitchell, but new scientific techniques could have helped target or rule out several likely suspects. In recent years, emerging research has produced a field known as “bacterial source tracking,” or “microbial source tracking.” The names are catch-all terms for the various methods used to link fecal contamination to the feces of specific warm-blooded animals, including humans. Some companies that specialize in source tracking say they can test a water sample and determine what percentage of the fecal contamination was caused by humans, pets, livestock and wildlife. They even offer to pin the contamination to specific types of animals, such as cattle, horses or pigs.
By: Seth Tupper, The Daily Republic