Researcher: No Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Found After Sewage Releases

Dec 23, 2016
Originally published on December 22, 2016 5:08 pm

A researcher who tested the water around St. Petersburg for antibiotic resistant bacteria after the city released sewage into Tampa Bay didn't find any.

But that doesn't mean it wasn't ever there.

University of South Florida researcher Suzanne Young tested three locations beginning a week after Tropical Storm Hermine forced the city to release millions of gallons of sewage from a plant in downtown St. Pete.

Young found high levels of bacteria that indicates sewage contamination but said she would have been surprised to find antibiotic resistant bacteria in the samples a week or more after the releases.

She says that's why it's important to test for the pathogens during the releases. No regulatory agencies test for the bacteria.

“I think it's important to start integrating these additional tests for antibiotic resistance and to be able to test for them in a timely manner right after this is happening,” Young said.

Young said timely testing is the best way to inform the public of the actual health risks.