Research into micro-pollutants: modelling water quality
The incident in Borne on 15 June 2019, where dozens of children became ill after recreation in the Bornsebeek, raised questions within the German-Dutch MEDUWA-Vecht(e)-consortium about the exact cause of the infection, the exposure to multi-resistant bacteria in the water, and the sources of pollution in the creek. Indeed, swimming in surface water that is not designated as official recreation site has been reported to result in infections (Joosten R et al, 2017).
Micropollution of biological and chemical origin in surface water, however, is a very complex subject and there is still a great need for research. MEDUWA-researchers are modelling the water quality in the entire catchment area of the Vecht. Among other things, they try to understand the spread of multi-resistant microorganisms over surface water, with E. coli as an indicator for faecal pollution. They also investigate the exposure of humans to these microorganisms via the environment and the health risks. If these models prove to simulate the dispersal behaviour of multi-resistant bacteria in the Vecht catchment area, they can also provide information on recreational exposure for other catchment areas.