Monitoring of E.coli for warning systems in urban recreational waters

Urban water is a vital element for events and recreation in cities, sparking concerns about water quality and hygienic safety.  In this study, we implemented a near real-time monitoring system, the β-D-glucuronidase activity-based BACTcontrol, in the canals of Breda city in the Netherlands. Our goal? To assess its potential as a part of an effective early warning system for urban surface waters. Results from three consecutive bathing seasons revealed that while the BACTcontrol showed a timely and short response—detecting contamination peaks—it couldn’t indicate when the water was hygienically safe again.  This gap finds its solution in qPCR measurements, providing reliable and fast results. The combination of BACTcontrol and qPCR measurements creates an opportunity to devise an effective strategy for the recreational use of urban surface waters.