How to monitor for E.Coli


Lab testing identifies E. coli markers for general bacteria and ruminants, and specific markers for human, sheep, cow, birds and human faecal sources. Each marker is strongly associated with the source tested for, however, the relative contribution of each marker in a water sample cannot be compared. 

 E.coli source tracking

The percentage value or ‘consistent match’ of the E. coli marker is used to identify whether the faeces has a high consistent match (50-100%) with a specific animal marker.  Lower percentage matches (10-50%) may indicate aged faeces with declining markers or from other sources of pollution.

E.coli sources

All animals on land within the catchment, whether farmed or wild, will contribute to faecal matter getting into waterways.

Cattle standing in streams or wet areas will deposit faeces directly into waterways while doing so. This can be managed by excluding stock from streams by fencing along streams to prevent access. 

Animals grazing on land which is adjacent to water, such as farmed sheep, cattle and horses, will deposit faeces on the land.  The bacteria from the animal faeces are washed into the streams during heavy rain.