Skip to main content


The full text article is not available for purchase.

The publisher only permits individual articles to be downloaded by subscribers.

or click here to sign up for a free trial


A comprehensive study was undertaken to assess the fate of indicator organisms (fecal coliform, E. coli, and enterococci) in brackish water of the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, a recipient of stormwater runoff from the New Orleans metropolitan area. Although significant improvements in lake water quality have been reported over past years, the fate and behavior of indicator organisms is not completely understood. That is particularly true at the selected study sites of Lincoln Beach and Jahncke Canal. The purpose of this study was to examine the distribution of indicator organisms in different components of the water body to achieve a fuller understanding of the fate of microbial indicators fecal coliform, E. coli, and enterococci. Knowledge gained from the study will lay the foundation for further modeling and the development of health advisories for swimming activities. Results indicate that satisfactory water quality of Lincoln Beach was observed during dry weather periods. Concentrations of indicator organisms in both water column and sediment, however, significantly increased during and after heavy stormwater runoff, particularly at sites near the Jahncke Canal discharge point. However, the elevated titers of indicator organisms decreased to background levels after 24 to 48 hours. Overall removal rate constants for fecal coliform, E. coli, and enterococci from the water column ranged from 0.112 to 0.124 h−1, 0.106 to 0.170 h−1, and 0.101 to 0.110 h−1, respectively. These results were confirmed by laboratory studies which evaluated microbial indicator die-off under various salinity, temperature, and sunlight conditions. Sediment die-off sampling indicated reduction rate constants ranging from 0.013 to 0.043 h−1, 0.023 to 0.030 h−1, and 0.020 to 0.026 h−1 for fecal coliform, E. coli, and enterococci, respectively. Attachment of microbial indicators to suspended matter and subsequent sedimentation appeared to be a significant fate mechanism. A slower rate reduction of indicator organisms in sediment further suggested that bottom sediment may act as a reservoir for prolonging indicator organism survival and adds concern of recontamination of overlying waters due to potential solids resuspension. Additionally, field data was assessed to determine which microbial indicator may be most suitable to determine recreational water quality at the study sites. Results indicate that enterococci may be a more stable indicator than E. coli or fecal coliform and consequently a more conservative indicator under marine water conditions.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access.
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more