Coastal zones receive water from the continent that can be contaminated by enteric microorganisms of human and animal origin, leading to sanitary and economic problems. Indeed, these microorganisms include potentially pathogenic bacteria and viruses that have been implicated in outbreaks of foodborne illness following human consumption of contaminated shellfish. Such pollution can also bring about the closure or lower the grade of bathing and shellfish-growing areas.

The overall objective of the European Water Directive (2000/60/CE) is to achieve a good ecological and chemical status of coastal and inland water throughout Europe by 2015. In this context, the new directives 2006/7/CE and 852-854/2004/EC, on bathing water and water in shellfish-farming areas, raise the threshold values for microbial indicators E. coli and Enterococci  and require vulnerability profiles to be established for the concerned areas by early 2011. The building of these profiles involves : (i) a description of each area, (ii) identification and study of the sources of faecal pollution and (iii) remedial action on these pollution sources to improve water quality. It therefore appears necessary to have tools available that will allow us to determine the origin of faecal pollution in suface waters.

This conference will provide the latest news about the analytical methods able to discriminate between sources of faecal pollution. It will also present the available analysis tools, recent developments made in Europe and Canada and the advantages and limitations of each of these tools. The conference will allow scientific exchange but also discussion between scientists, water managers and representatives from water analysis laboratories. The day will take the form of a series of communications given in French or English with simultaneous translation into both languages. A display of poster presentations will also be organised.