Coliform Standards for Recreational Waters: Progress Report of the Public Health Activities Committee of the Sanitary Engineering Division

Committee of the Sanitary Engineering Division, ASCE

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1963, Vol. 89, Issue 4, Pg. 57-94

Document Type: Journal Paper


Coliform standards are a major public health factor in judging the sanitary quality of recreational waters. There is little, if any, conclusive proof that disease hazards are directly associated with large numbers of coliform organisms. Comprehensive research is recommended to provide data for establishing sanitary standards for recreational waters on a more rational or sound public health basis. British investigations show that even finding typhoid organisms and other pathogens in recreational waters is not indicative of a health hazard to bathers but is only indicative of the presence of these diseases in the population producing the sewage. The Committee recommends that beaches not be closed and other decisive action not be taken because current microbiological standards are not met except when evidence of fresh sewage or epidemiological data would support such action.

Subject Headings: Water-based recreation | Public health and safety | Sanitary engineering | Bacteria | Water quality | Diseases | Sewage | Pathogens

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