A comparison of the efficacy of an existing large metabolic fingerprint database of enterococci and Escherichia coli with a locally developed database was undertaken to identify the sources of faecal contamination in a coastal lake, in southeast Qld., Australia. The local database comprised of 776 enterococci and 780 E. coli isolates from six host groups. In all, 189 enterococci and 245 E. coli biochemical phenotypes (BPTs) were found, of which 118 and 137 BPTs were unique (UQ) to host groups. The existing database comprised of 295 enterococci UQ-BPTs and 273 E. coli UQ-BPTs from 10 host groups. The representativeness and the stability of the existing database were assessed by comparing with isolates that were external to the database. In all, 197 enterococci BPTs and 179 E. coli BPTs were found in water samples. The existing database was able to identify 62.4% of enterococci BPTs and 64.8% of E. coli BPTs as human and animal sources. The results indicated that a representative database developed from a catchment can be used to predict the sources of faecal contamination in another catchment with similar landuse features within the same geographical area. However, the representativeness and the stability of the database should be evaluated prior to its application in such investigation.