Potential E. coli contamination in surface waters from on-site sewage facilities was investigated in the Dickinson Bayou watershed, Texas. This watershed is listed as impaired due to bacteria by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Two water quality monitoring stations, with flow meters and automatic water samplers, were installed in the watershed to assess E. coli concentrations in surface runoff. One monitoring station was installed in a neighborhood that solely used an on-site sewage facility (OSSF) and the second monitoring station, the control site, was installed in a neighborhood connected to a municipal sewage plant. For 16 runoff events at the OSSF site, the combined geometric mean E. coli concentration was 639 colony forming units (CFU)/100milliters while the geometric mean E. coli concentration for 13 runoff events at the control site was 371 CFU/100milliliters. The E. coli concentrations from the 2 sites were not statistically different, suggesting that OSSFs may not be the major cause of bacterial contamination in the Dickinson Bayou watershed. In addition, a bacterial source tracking method was employed, which concluded that a portion of the E. coli from both sites were of human origin.
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Copyright (c) 2017 Derek Morrison, Raghupathy Karthikeyan, Clyde Munster, John Jacob, Terry J Gentry