In the last ten years (2009-2019), flooding caused the death of over 48,000 people, and affected over 697 million people globally. This is expected to increase as a result of climate change, population growth and urbanisation. Floods can cause infections due to the release of water-borne pathogens from surcharged combined sewers and other sources of faecal contamination on urban surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, gravel, pavement, playground rubber tiles and grass. Using laboratory experiments with faecal indicator bacteria Escherichia coli, and with Bacillus subtilis spores, and MS2 bacteriophages under controlled exposure to simulated sunlight, this research contributes towards a better understanding of the environmental parameters that affect the concentration of pathogens in contaminated shallow water bodies and on different urban surfaces. Also, several sampling methods are assessed for the recovery of bacteria from flood-prone urban surfaces. This study suggests that given the sunlight conditions after an urban flood, the concentration of indicator organisms and of total suspended solids and the surface type it is possible to estimate the fate of selected pathogens. The observations and results presented in this study contribute to the development of policy-making tools for rapid implementation of appropriate measures to mitigate public health risks after flooding.
- highlights the relation of urban floods with water-borne diseases.
-stresses for the first time the importance of urban surfaces (pavement, concrete, asphalt, etc.) on the inactivation of water-borne pathogens.
-provides equations that can be used to develop policy-making tools for implementation of appropriate measures to mitigate public health risks after flooding.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Effect of artificial solar radiation on the inactivation of pathogen indicator organisms in urban floods, Assessment of microbial sampling methods for flood-prone urban surfaces, Inactivation of E. coli as faecal indicator organism on different surfaces after urban floods, Inactivation of indicator organisms on different urban surfaces after urban floods, Outlook, References.
Iosif Marios Scoullos is a Chemical Engineer, graduate of the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, with a thesis on the production of second generation biofuels. Having a strong interest for the protection of the environment and its resources, he believes that in order to achieve great changes it is not only technological means that are necessary, but also appropriate management tools and interdisciplinary cooperation. He studied MPhil in Technology Policy at the University of Cambridge and did his PhD in Environmental Biotechnology and Sanitary Engineering at the Delft University of Technology and the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education. He received an Academy of Athens Scholarship and an Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation Research Grant.