This study evaluated the microbial quality of reclaimed and storm water as proposed sources for restoration of a Florida wetland. Bacterial indicators, bacteriophages and waterborne pathogenic microorganisms (Cryptosporidium, Giardia and infectious enteric viruses) were analysed during a 1-year period in order to determine potential public health risks associated with exposure to the proposed water sources for restoration. Ambient waters within the wetland (four active water wells and four major lakes) were included in the study in order to determine the microbial water quality before restoration. Storm water and lakes had the highest level of microbial contamination. Much lower levels of microbial indicators and waterborne pathogens were found in reclaimed water and groundwater. Pathogen occurrence in groundwater was intermittent. Owing to the small percentage of source waters (3.3%) migrating to the water wells, ambient concentration of microbial constituents in surface and groundwater could dominate microbial risk. The results of this study indicate that, in the light of the uncertainties involved in computing average Cryptosporidium concentrations, additional characterization of the current ambient water quality should be ongoing prior to restoration.

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