New Mexico Bacteria Source Tracking Project Gains Media Attention

Some news organizations have featured in 2014 the microbial source tracking project undertaken by the San Juan Watershed Group in New Mexico.

Miami, FL, January 14, 2015 --( Source Molecular Corporation has been assisting New Mexico’s San Juan Watershed Group in their microbial source tracking (MST) project that has attracted the attention of some media organizations in 2014.

Melissa May of the San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District (SJSWCD) explained that New Mexico had found over the last several years that E. coli levels in the Animas and San Juan Rivers but they don’t know where the bacteria is coming from. Emma Deyo, also of SJSWCD, pointed out that in fixing this problem it really helps knowing the cause of the problem. “For too many years everyone pointed the finger at everyone else. The agricultural people said it was urban pollution and the urbanites said no, it’s the farmers,” Ms. Deyo commented in Talon, a community-input newspaper.

The San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District undertook its biggest project yet, using microbial source tracking to determine the source of the bacteria in the rivers. The San Juan Watershed Group has been collecting weekly water samples from 5 sites on the Animas and San Juan Rivers from April-October in 2013 and 2014 and sent them to Source Molecular, which tested them for Human, Cow, Ruminant (deer, elk, cows, sheep), Horse, and Bird bacteria sources. Details about sampling methods, locations, and procedures are in the Group’s EPA Approved Quality Assurance Project Plan

Kim Vallez of KRQE News 13 highlighted the preliminary results of the tests done in 2013 that showed bacteria from human waste may be seeping into the Animas, La Plata, and San Juan rivers in New Mexico and Colorado. []

Ms. Deyo outlined the preliminary results from the 2013 samples: (a) Human Bacteroidetes signal was present in 90% of all samples taken and there was a trend of increasing occurrence as samples were taken downstream in both the Animas and the San Juan rivers; (b) Bird Fecal ID probe was positive in approximately 50% of the samples; and (c) Ruminant was positive in all samples.

Devin Neeley of KOB Eyewitness News 4 in New Mexico reported in April 2014 that San Juan County is already working on the solution based on his interview with Mike Stark, chief operations officer, who said, “Expanding sewer out into unincorporated parts of the county and getting folks off of septic systems would be ultimately beneficial to surface water.” []

Dale Rodebaugh, staff writer for The Durango Herald in Colorado, reported that the Animas Watershed Partnership, which works on water-quality projects in New Mexico and with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, also is following the work of the San Juan Watershed Group. Ann Oliver, coordinator for the Animas Watershed Partnership, said in April 2014 that her group is searching for funding for similar research at two points upstream – on the Animas upstream of the Florida River and on the Florida before it reaches the Animas. “We want to understand our own status and learn what we could be contributing downstream,” Ms. Oliver told The Durango Herald.

The final results of the two-year project will be released soon after the San Juan Watershed Group has finished analyzing all the data they have compiled.

About the Company

Source Molecular Corporation is a private commercial laboratory founded in 2002 with a mission to fill the void between source identification research and real-world implementation of the technology. Throughout the years, the Source Molecular microbiology laboratory has analyzed samples for hundreds of industrial plants, watershed management groups, state/federal government agencies, universities and engineering firms making it the leader in the Microbial Source Tracking (MST) industry. By providing commercial MST testing services, Source Molecular assists clients with recreational water quality monitoring and supports Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development and implementation.
Source Molecular Corporation
Mauricio Larenas
(786) 220-0379