Oahu Chapter launches Water Quality Testing Partnership with UH Researcher

Surfrider O‘ahu is really excited to be working with Graduate Researcher Eduardo Guimaraes in Dr. Marek Kris’s lab at the Water Resources Research Center, UH Mānoa. The project is engaging multiple water quality samplers from our Blue Water Task Force team to test the effectiveness of a new rapid water quality detection method that could revolutionize the effectiveness of testing programs statewide. We will be sharing the daily data on this webpage as test results come in for the next month. The project test sites are at Ala Moana Bowls, Kahanamoku Beach, and the Kahanamoku Lagoon. These areas see heavy use from recreational activity, tourist visits, and outflows near the Ala Wai Canal. Below Eduardo explains the project in scientific detail.

Surfrider Volunteers join UH Manoa Researchers in the Water Resources Research Center.

Project Story

Rapid Response: Application of a qPCR based test for enterococci and human specific Bacteroides as a rapid beach management tool in Hawaii.

Changing climate and urbanization will alter inputs of fecal bacteria in tropical environments, which compromises the health of Hawaii residents and visitors. Current microbiological methods to evaluate water quality take a minimum of 24 hours to complete, while novel rapid molecular methods, can be completed in a few hours. Hawaii is well suited for application of rapid methods due to the small size, high population density and high influx of visitors. No validated and ready to be used in Hawaii rapid method exists as earlier studies have identified several critical issues specific to Hawaii and likely to a wider tropical region. One of the issues is the high background levels of enterococci in Hawaii environment that can lead to beach warnings being posted when no actual sewage contamination and related health hazard exist. This project aims to improve Oahu’s water quality management by optimizing rapid qPCR based method for enterococci in Hawaii and implementing a new qPCR based method for human specific Bacteroides as a sewage tracer. Hopefully this project, will provide a faster and more accurate water quality assessment to Hawaii residents and visitors, which will positively affect public health and reduce sewage-borne illness rate and related expenditures.

Project Data

What does the data mean?
  • Non-detected means that we did not find any enterococci or human-associated bacteroides in our samples.
  • Detected< means that we found enterococci or human-associated bacteroides in our samples but the quantities are less than our limit of quantification. Our limits of quantification are below reporting standards from EPA.
  • (Actual Concentration) means that we found enterococci or human-associated bacteroides in our samples and the quantities are above our limit of quantification. This means that we can quantify how many we found in our samples.
  • Our limits of quantification are: 1000 gene copies/100mL for human-associated bacteroides and 100 cells/100 mL for enterococci.

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