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NYC DEP update on Ribbed Mussel potential for treating pathogens in water bodies


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John Mcloughlin managing director of NYC DEP office of Ecosystem services and Green infrastructure research gives updates on the research they have done on using natural features such as ribbed mussels to remove pathogens from water bodies

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NYC DEP update on Ribbed Mussel potential for treating pathogens in water bodies

  1. 1. Jamaica Bay Task Force Meeting November 13, 2019 John McLaughlin Managing Director, Office of Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure and Research Natural Systems for Water Quality Improvements: Ribbed Mussel and Tidal Wetland Research
  2. 2. 2 Why Natural Systems?  Traditionally (and still do) solve the City’s need for water quality improvements with large infrastructure solutions.  However, some new infrastructure projects come at a significant cost, while achieving modest, incremental improvements as past investments have already provided substantial cost effective water quality improvements.  Therefore, sustainable and nature-based approaches need to be part of the toolbox and a central theme that protects, preserves and improves water quality while also providing substantial ecological lift.
  3. 3. 3 Comparison of Wetland Channels Alley Creek Wetland Demonstration Site Primary Channel Secondary Channel Tertiary Channel Primary Channel
  4. 4. 4 Tidal Wetlands and Pathogen Reduction  Research to evaluate tidal wetland systems for their ability to remove nutrients and Fecal Indicator Bacteria (FIB) to improve water quality.  Working with the Science and Resiliency Institute at Jamaica Bay (SRIJB)  Water Column and Sediment parameters to be measured include: ‒ Fecal Indicator Bacteria (FIB) ‒ Dissolved Oxygen ‒ Nitrogen and Phosphorus ‒ Total Suspended Solids ‒ pH ‒ Salinity
  5. 5. 5 Alley Creek Wetlands
  6. 6. 6 Ribbed Mussels and Pathogen Reduction  DEP in coordination with the New York State Department Environmental Conservation (DEC), Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and Stony Brook University is evaluating the potential for using Guekensia demissa (Ribbed Mussel) for water quality improvements.  Ribbed mussels are possibly unique among bivalves in also possessing the ability to filter and digest free bacteria, potentially helping to exert top-down control of harmful pathogens (Kreeger and Newell 1996, 2000).  Existing research confirms that ribbed mussels have removal efficiencies of greater than 10% for particle sizes between 0.2 - 2 µm (within fecal coliform range of sizes):
  7. 7. 7 Experiment Overview Current Status
  8. 8. 8 Experiment Overview • Purpose of microcosm lab experiments is to study the effects of individual variables on the filtration efficiency of ribbed mussels • Test individual variables in isolated setting • Will inform design of future lab and field mesocosm experiments 1. Temperature (Completed) 2. Salinity (Completed) 3. Mussel Size (Completed) 4. TSS/Turbidity (Ongoing) 5. Fate of Microbial Absorption
  9. 9. 9 Microcosm Experiments • Each experimental parameter tested over 4 days to reach the desired number of replicates • Levels determined from analysis of water quality data from Bergen Basin and Thurston Basin Harbor Survey (5 to 7-years) • Experimental parameters will test 3-4 levels • Temperature: 15˚C, 21˚C, 28˚C (completed) • Salinity: 5 ppt, 12.5 ppt, 20 ppt, 25 ppt (completed) • Mussel Size: 30mm, 50mm, 70mm (completed) • Turbidity/TSS: 12 mg/L (20µg Chlorophyll A), 12 mg/L (100µg Chlorophyll A, 30 mg/L (20µg Chlorophyll A) (in progress)
  10. 10. 10 Microcosm Experiments - Flow Cytometry • Flow cytometer screenshots demonstrate the distinction among types of bacteria and beads • Different fluorescent channel plots show the dispersion of particles as they react to specific light wavelengths E. faecalis E. coli Beads The polystyrene microsphere beads are 5-6µm in size (size range that ensures 100% capture efficiency by the gills) and are used to assess mussel filtration rate
  11. 11. 11 Microcosm Experiments - Flow Cytometry 20 ppt at 120 minutes (2 hours)Time 0 • Cytograms showing the bacterial counts at Time 0 and after 2 hours at the salinity level of 20 ppt • Preliminary data shows significant bacterial removal at 20 ppt (similar to what was observed in temperature experiments)
  12. 12. 12 Microcosm Experiments - Salinity Typical Set Up for Salinity Experiments
  13. 13. 13 Microcosm Experiments - Temperature Preliminary Microcosm Results – Temperature on E. coli 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 150 180 E.coliParticleCounts Time (min) E. coli 28 C E. coli 21 C E. coli 15 C Bacteria Pulse Higher bacterial counts on second pulse due to residual particles from first pulse Bacteria Pulse
  14. 14. 14 Microcosm Experiments - Temperature 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 150 180 E.faecalisParticleCounts Time (min) E. faecalis 28 C E. faecalis 21 C E. faecalis 15 C Bacteria Pulse Bacteria Pulse Preliminary Microcosm Results – Temperature on Enterococcus faecalis *Data undergoing QA/QC
  15. 15. 15 Discussion