Boston Harbor has had a history of poor water quality, including contamination by enteric pathogens. We conduct a statistical analysis of data collected by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) between 1996 and 2002 to evaluate the effects of court-mandated improvements in sewage treatment. Motivated by the ineffectiveness of standard Poisson mixture models and their zero-inflated counterparts, we propose a new negative binomial model for time series of Enterococcus counts in Boston Harbor, where nonstationarity and autocorrelation are modeled using a nonparametric smooth function of time in the predictor. Without further restrictions, this function is not identifiable in the presence of time-dependent covariates; consequently we use a basis orthogonal to the space spanned by the covariates and use penalized quasi-likelihood (PQL) for estimation. We conclude that Enterococcus counts were greatly reduced near the Nut Island Treatment Plant (NITP) outfalls following the transfer of wastewaters from NITP to the Deer Island Treatment Plant (DITP) and that the transfer of wastewaters from Boston Harbor to the offshore diffusers in Massachusetts Bay reduced the Enterococcus counts near the DITP outfalls.


Categorical Data Analysis | Epidemiology | Longitudinal Data Analysis and Time Series | Statistical Models