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Comparison of E.Coli, Enterococci, and Fecal Coliform as Indicators for Brackish Water Quality Assessment

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Escherichia coli(E.coli), enterococci, and fecal coliform data were collected and comparedas potential indicators for swimmablility assessment of a brackish waterbody (Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana). These indicators were measured during lake background conditions, in stormwater runoff (before dilution with lake water), and in the outfall plume within the lake following storm events. Microbial indicator titers associated with suspended particles and lake-bottom sediments were also investigated. Overall reduction rate constants for fecal coliform, E.coli, and enterococci in lake water and sediment were measured and reported. Attachment of microbial indicators to suspended matter and subsequent sedimentation appeared to be a significant fate mechanism. A slower reduction rate of indicator organisms in sediment further suggested that bottom sediment may act as a reservoir for prolonging indicator organism survival and added concern of recontamination of overlaying waters due to potential solids resuspension. Results indicated that enterococci might be a more stable indicator than E.coli and fecal coliform and, consequently, a more conservative indicator under brackish water conditions.
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Keywords: E. COLI; ENTEROCOCCI; FECAL COLIFORM; MICROBIAL DIE-OFF; NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION; OVERALL REDUCTION RATE CONSTANTS; SEDIMENTATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-05-01

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