tional ports and coastal waters have been the vector for the
introduction of tens to hundreds of freshwater and marine
It has been reported that over 80 days annually,
species to the United States.
the  ports  in  the  Great  Lakes  have  at  least  one
Non-indigenous species have been increasing despite
overseas vessel landing and over 64 have two and
regulatory programs,  perhaps the most infamous of those
on  38  days  annually  three  overseas  vessels  are
with subsequent dramatic impacts on the ecosystem was the
introduction of zebra mussels to the Great Lakes.  These
landed (Niimi 2000).
highly adaptive species with their rapid reproduction and
ability to travel have caused tremendous problems for
drinking water systems in taking water from the Great Lakes
These goals require monitoring and establishment of
as well as endangering the food chain  (Johnson and Padilla,
discharge criteria and/or demonstration of treatment
1996).  It has been reported that over 80 days annually, the
efficacy to achieve specific reductions (removal or inactiva-
ports in the Great Lakes have at least one overseas vessel
tion).
landing and over 64 have two and on 38 days annually three
overseas vessels are landed (Niimi 2000).
Source Tracking
The Non-indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and
The SAB suggests that a major effort in the Great Lakes
Control Act (1990) as well as the National Invasive Species
basin should focus on assessment of the source tracking
Act (1996) have given the Coast Guard the authority to
methodologies and building databases, baseline informa-
regulate ballast water management practices to prevent the
tion for library based methods and verification studies.
discharge of ship borne ballast water in U.S. waters of the
Great Lakes.
While fecal indicator tests, such as for coliforms, currently
provide the basis for many boil water advisories and beach
Currently management practices fall into two general
closures, new tools are being developed to determine the
categories:
sources of fecal pollution for quickly taking appropriate
open ocean ballast water exchange; and
corrective actions. There are a variety of techniques under
ballast water treatment systems.
active investigation that could assist in determining the
origin and transboundary fate of fecal pollution in the
In 1993, a mandatory off shore water exchange was imple-
Great Lakes region.  One promising area of research for
mented for all overseas vessels entering the Great Lakes.
addressing waterborne pathogen concerns and nonpoint
However, the efficacy of this process for preventing introduc-
sources of pollution in the Great Lakes is microbial source
tion of invasive species has been questioned.  Therefore,
tracking to determine the origins of fecal pollution (Scott et
treatment of the ballast water has been examined for both on
al. 2002; Simpson et al. 2002).  This includes, ribotyping,
land and on board systems (Greenman et al. 1997).
antibiotic resistant profiling, coliphage typing, box-PCR,
E.coli and Enterococci gene specificity markers, enteric
Safe discharge has been broadly defined as the removal of
viruses typing, and Cryptosporidium genotyping.  Some of
fish (larvae), invertebrates, seaweed, algae, fungi, protozoa,
these include methods that require an extensive library be
bacteria and viruses.  A variety of approaches have been
built while other methods have greater host specificity.  Any
suggested in determining what is considered “safe.”  Current
of these methods need to be evaluated and verified in
densities of organisms are estimated at 170 metric tonnes
survey work which builds base line data.
and levels through exchange can decrease these to 2 metric
tonnes.  Several other types of goals have also been pro-
Environment Canada’s National Water Research Institute,
posed:
Burlington, Ontario is exploring box-PCR DNA fingerprint-
ing and antibiotic resistance profiling techniques to
Zero discharge of phytoplankton and zooplankton,
characterize E. coli isolates from nearshore waters of Lake
maximum concentrations of E. coli of 35 colony
Ontario. It is possible to first build a library of such
forming units and Enterococci of 126 colony forming
fingerprints or profiles of E. coli isolates obtained from
units.
local fecal sources such as human feces, livestock manure
Drinking water goals that include 99.99 percent
or Canada geese feces. Then the fingerprints or profiles of
reduction of viruses and 99.9 percent  reduction of
E. coli isolates obtained from water samples are matched
protozoa with no detectable total coliforms per 100ml.
with those from the library to help determine the source(s)
Kill rate of 95 percent of six representative target
of fecal pollution. There are a number of researchers in
species (vertebrates, invertebrates, phytoplankton and
Canada and the United States that are actively exploring
macroalgae).
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