Groundwater and enteric disease: Could enteric pathogens be present in wells in PA?

Globally, approximately 2.2 billion people rely on groundwater for daily consumption. Approximately 4 million people in Pennsylvania rely on private wells. It is widely accepted that groundwater typically represents a more pristine source of water for human consumption than surface water resources. While this assumption is frequently the case, groundwater is not ubiquitously free of chemical and/or microbial contaminants; accordingly, this presumption can result in an unfounded and potentially hazardous sense of security among owners, operators and users. In her presentation, Dr. Murphy will give an overview of the existing published literature with the epidemiological evidence of the contribution of groundwater to global human enteric infection.

 She will summarize the various epidemiological study designs and summarize the primary enteric pathogens associated with notable groundwater related outbreaks. In addition, she will present some preliminary data from wells that she sampled this summer in PA. She found evidence that human pathogens could be reaching private wells, even those that are 700 feet deep.

 About the Presenter:

Dr. Heather Murphy, Assistant Professor, College of Public Health, Temple University

 Dr. Murphy has over ten years of experience in water/ wastewater treatment, water quality, drinking water distribution, risk assessment and environmental health in both North America and abroad. Dr. Murphy obtained her PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Guelph, Canada, where she focused on appropriate household water treatment technologies in rural Cambodia. Following her PhD, she worked for the United Nations International Emergency Children's Fund (UNICEF) as a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist in Mali and Madagascar. While in Mali, she coordinated a $25 million dollar Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools program, covering 1000 schools, the largest program of its kind in the world.

She recently completed a research fellowship with the Public Health Agency of Canada where she focused on quantifying the burden of waterborne disease on the Canadian population. Prior to joining Temple she was a research fellow at the University of Guelph where she conducted research on the challenges of water provision in Canadian First Nations communities. Dr. Murphy's research interests involve understanding and addressing water and health challenges in both developed and developing countries.

Created by Jill Heemstra

Primary Audience: Not Set