USGS Ohio Water Science Center

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Ohio Water Microbiology Lab

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Ohio Water Science Center

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IMS/ATP Rapid Detection Method

Ohio Water Science Center Projects Currently Testing the IMS/ATP Method.


In cooperation with the National Park Service, the IMS/ATP rapid method was tested for E. coli and enterococci at sites along the Cuyahoga River within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. During the recreational seasons of 2004 through 2006, water samples were analyzed for both the traditional 24-hour culture-based method and the IMS/ATP method to determine how well the results were correlated. Other environmental variables were also measured for possible inclusion in predictive models. To learn more about this project, click here. Cuyahoga River - IMS/ATP Rapid Detection Method Project.

Results from this study can be found in the following publications:

Using a rapid method to predict recreational water quality at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio. 2007. Bushon, R.N., Brady,   A.M.G., and Plona, M.B.

Rapid method for Escherichia coli in the Cuyahoga River. 2007. Brady, A.M.G.


Edgewater Beach near Cleveland - IMS/ATP Rapid Detection Method Project. The IMS/ATP rapid method for E. coli was tested at three Lake Erie beaches near Cleveland, Ohio—Edgewater, Villa Angela, and Huntington, in cooperation with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. Water samples were collected during the recreational seasons of 2006 and 2007 and analyzed by the traditional 24-hour culture-based method and the IMS/ATP rapid method. The goal of the project was to test a rapid method for providing beach recreational users with information regarding the current day’s E. coli concentrations. For more information about this project, click here.

Optimization of the IMS/ATP method for E. coli and enterococci are continually taking place through the use of funding provided by the USGS Instrumentation Committee. The goal of the optimization is to increase recovery of the target bacteria. Specific steps being optimized are the amount of antibody used to coat the magnetic beads, the amount of antibody-coated beads to add to the sample, and the contact time of the beads with the sample. These steps are being tested with water and sewage samples collected across the United States. Click here for more information about this project. IMS/ATP Rapid Detection Methods Project.

Method Evaluation Study - IMS/ATP Rapid Detection Methods Project. The Ohio Water Science Center participated in a method evaluation study in April 2007, organized by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP). The study was in preparation for an epidemiological study that aims to document the relationship of rapid methods to the incidence of swimming-related illness. The Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory analyzed a total of 36 environmental and sewage-spiked water samples using the IMS/ATP method for E. coli and enterococci. Results to be published by SCCWRP.

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