Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Advocate, July 2005

MAST Student to Investigate Stormwater Discharge

     Kayla Conner, a student at the Marine Academy of Science & Technology (MAST), is assisting COA in developing a program to help track down potential sources of bacteria in our waterways.  The program involves monitoring streams impacted by stormwater discharge by placing a device in the water that can detect Optical Brighteners (OB).  OBs are fluorescent white dyes that are added to laundry soaps and detergents to make clothing appear “whiter”.  Detection of OBs in a water body indicates the presence of laundry effluent, which may have entered the water body from an illegal connection of a sewage pipe to a stormwater system, runoff from a failing septic system, ineffective sewage treatment, or from leaky sewage pipes.  OB monitoring will coincide with bacterial monitoring by MAST students at the same locations.  The combination of bacterial and OB data can be used by state and local officials to identify and investigate potential sewage contamination problems.  COA intends to make the OB Monitoring program available once procedures have been established.


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