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Assessing Risk Associated with Waterborne Parasites in Calgary’s Drinking Water Open Access


Other title
risk assessment
drinking water
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Sokurenko, Mykola
Supervisor and department
Neumann, Norman (School of Public Health)
Examining committee member and department
Ashbolt, Nicholas (School of Public Health)
Reid, Donald (School of Public Health)
Kindzierski, Warren (School of Public Health)
Department of Public Health Sciences
Environmental Health Sciences
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Giardia and Cryptosporidium are waterborne pathogens that are raising public health concern worldwide. Outbreaks caused by Giardia or Cryptosporidium have been reported even after drinking water facilities have met regulatory compliance. The goal of this thesis was to examine vulnerability of the City of Calgary’s drinking water to parasite contamination and assess the risks posed by these parasites based on three different risk frameworks: 1) Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources Development (AESRD) regulatory approval requirements, 2) United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) Long-term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2 Rule), and Health Canada’s Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment models [HC QMRA]). Parasite monitoring data was collected from 2003 to 2011 at the Glenmore and Bearspaw water treatment plants (WTPs) in the City of Calgary (428 and 408 data points, respectively). Drinking water quality met all regulatory requirements for parasite risks regardless of the risk models used. However, the overall level of risk varied depending on the models used and the assumptions in certain models (i.e., HC QMRA), and in particular the risks associated with Giardia. AESRD’s regulation requires that, for example, the Glenmore WTP should provide 5-log_10 reduction against Giardia based on the current concentrations of parasites in source water. The Health Canada QMRA model suggested that the Glenmore WTP could handle 114,000 Giardia cysts/100 L. However, each of the risk frameworks lacked resolution for identifying potential periods of peak risk. An association between Giardia concentration and season was observed in source water for the Elbow River (winter/spring) and Bow River (winter/spring [2003-2007] and summer in the Bow River [2008-2011]). Environmental factors such as rain and snowmelt run-off were shown to correlate with Giardia occurrence and could be used to predict peak occurrence/risk periods associated with source water contamination with this parasite.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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