Total coliform bacteria have been chosen as the indicator organism. Coliform die-away experiments have been carried out in unpolluted sea water samples collected at about 100 m off the coastline and under controlled environmental conditions. The samples were transformed into one litre clean glass beakers which were kept at constant temperature and were exposed to the solar radiation. The membrane filter technique was used for the coliform analysis. The temperature ranged from 20 to 40° C and the dilution ratios ranged from 1/50 to 1/200.
Coliform decay rate in the light has been expressed as the summation of the coliform decay rate in the dark and the decay rate due to solar radiation. The solar radiation required for 90 percent coliform removal has been found to range from 17 cal/cm2 to 40 cal/cm2 within the temperature range of 25 to 30° C. Applying the linear regression analysis two different equations have been given for the high (I>10 cal/cm2.hour) and low solar intensity ranges in order to determine the coliform decay rate constant as a function of the solar intensity.
T-90 values in the light have been found to follow log-normal distribution with a median T-90 value of 32 minutes. The corresponding T-90 values in the dark were found to be 70-80 times longer. Coliform decay rate in the dark has been correlated with the temperature.