Blue Water Task Force, Partnerships, Source Identification
July 11 2011

Source Tracking in Puerto Rico

by Mara Dias

The Graduate School of Public Health of UPR has been began conducting an extensive survey of sources of water-borne bacterial contamination in the Rincón area, with a focus on bacteria-related diseases of the elkhorn coral in the Reserva Marina Tres Palmas. The volunteers of the Rincon Surfrider Chapter's BWTF have been assisting with this survey, as it perfectly complements their water quality program and their concerns with protecting the health of their community and reefs.

In addition to testing the water for Enterococcus and E. coli bacteria, the survey team measures physical parameters (salinity, Ph, DO2, etc.) both inside and outside of the Reserve and visually inspects and takes a census of randomly selected reef locations.   All of the outflows from Rincon's  coastline, old landfill sites, sewage lines etc. were also recently identified and mapped.

The research team, led by Pablo Méndez (in red shorts, above) and Jorge Norát (below, with Pablo sampling at the Ultimo Brinco), invites the public to a brief informal meeting Monday July 11 at 11am at the Club Nautico, to discuss their work and invite community participation in this year-long project. This is a great opportunity for citizens to help conduct a scientific survey, participate in some much-needed research, and learn more about the complex issues involved in bacterial contamination of the waters we all enjoy. The Rincon Chapter hopes this new collaboration can develop into a strong partnership to begin identifying and addressing some of the more serious local bacteria sources in their area.  See where else the Rincon BWTF is testing here.