AI-enabled Enterococcus Predictor for Texas Coastal Ocean Beach

Principal Investigator

U.S. EPA Act of 2000 requires states with beaches to cooperate with the EPA to monitor the level of bacteria that impact water quality and issue swimming advisories when threshold levels are violated. In Texas, this monitoring system is operated by the Texas Beach Watch Program (TBWP) under the Texas General Land Office (TGLO). Two main methods are currently used to assess water quality: culture- based assays and rapid detection methods for Enterococcus (EPA 2012). The former method can take 18-96 hours to yield results. For users of the coastal waters, the delay can mean the information is obsolete by the time reports are available. For qPCR, results can be obtained in less than six hours, but the analysis is costly and requires PCR expertise, which is not readily available.

Felimon Gayanilo will lead the project "AI-enabled Enterococcus Predictor for Texas Coastal Ocean Beach: e-Predictor" designed to support the Texas Coastal Management Program (CMP) through the development of a prototype of an Enterococci prediction system (hereafter, e-Predictor) that can be scaled to all sampling areas in Texas, to accelerate both the quantification of coastal ocean bacteria and the dissemination of results to relevant agencies and the public.