Microbial source tracking refers to a set of techniques that allow researchers to identify fecal contamination in water. In addition to confirming that it is presence, they can often discover which species caused the contamination. That’s valuable information for a variety of purposes, which has helped the microbial source tracking to grow more popular in recent years.
It Fights Pollution
Fecal pollution is one of the most common types in water. If the source is known, it is often easy to prevent, but discovering the source is often easier said than done. Microbial source tracking is the easiest way to do so, and it usually provides enough information to track down the source of the contamination to solve the problem permanently.
It Protects Health
Fecal pollution is also extremely dangerous. It can cause many of the most dangerous diseases that afflict humanity, so getting rid of it is a key part of most public health programs. Microbial source tracking is not the only tool that is used to do so, but it is one of the most important, especially for prevention.
There Are Many Methods
Microbial source tracking is not a single technique. There are many tools that researchers can use to find the source of the pollution, with some being more useful in certain situations than others. Using the right techniques is a mark of technical expertise that distinguishes the expert researchers from the novices.
It Can Be Quick
The process requires plenty of training, but it does not need very much time. In most cases, basic tracking only takes five to ten days. It can take longer if the project is unusually large or involves rare contaminants, but that is a rare occurrence.
People Mail Samples
Source tracking requires a lab, but it doesn’t need to be near the water. The researchers can easily receive a water sample by mail, analyze it, and send the results back to their client. This is how most of the research is done, especially in areas that are not near major research centers.
Companies Specialize In It
Since microbial source tracking requires specialized skills, there are several companies that provide the service. Most of the operate through the mail, which makes them a very valuable resource for small towns and rural regions that want to keep an eye on their water supply at an affordable price.
Governments Rely On It
This is one of the most valuable tools that governments have for their health and environmental programs. Nature reserves, water treatment plants, and all sorts of other government agencies that deal with the water rely on it to gather information that they can’t get through any other method.
It’s A New Field
Microbial source tracking is a fairly recent development, and it continues to evolve. Researchers regularly discover new and improved ways to check the water for fecal contamination. Sometimes that makes the process cheaper or easier, and in other cases it adds precision or allows the identification of new species.