TABLE B-1 Selected Studies and Reports that Address Waterborne Pathogens and Their Indicators


Focus of Study

Points of Emphasis Related to Indicators for Waterborne Pathogens and Committee’s Charge

Biosolids Applied to Land (NRC, 2002a)

To evaluate the technical approaches used (by EPA) to establish the chemical and pathogen standards for biosolids


  • Further development and standardization of methods for measuring pathogens in biosolids are needed

  • Research that uses improved pathogen detection technology should be promoted

  • Research should be conducted to assess whether other indicator organisms, such as Clostridium perfringens, could be used in regulation of biosolids

Opportunities to Improve the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment Program (NRC, 2002b)

To provide guidance to the U.S. Geological Survey on opportunities to improve the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program as it enters its second decade of nationwide monitoring

Chapter 3 “NAWQA Cycle II Goals—Status”: Includes a brief review of the importance of waterborne pathogens in public health risk


  • Monitoring of all microbes in water, coliforms and/or Escherichia coli is neither practical nor optimal, and a different assessment method is required


  • Methods should be used to distinguish between live and dead viruses

  • Coliphage assays should be performed at all groundwater wells (in NAWQA Program)

Classifying Drinking Water Contaminants for Regulatory Consideration (NRC, 2001)

To evaluate and revise conceptual approach to generate future Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate Lists (CCLs) first recommended in Identifying Future Drinking Water Contaminants (NRC, 1999b)

Chapter 6 “Virulence-Factor Activity Relationships” (VFAR): Describes what VFARs are and concludes that the development and use of VFARs by EPA to help identify future waterborne pathogens appears to be feasible


  • A scientific working group on bioinformatics, genomics, and proteomics should be established to inform EPA about, and eventually develop and implement, VFARs for drinking water contaminants

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