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The Relationship between Flow and Bacteria in Streams

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A method is proposed to relate the statistics of in-stream bacteria concentrations to the surface-runoff fraction of stream flow. The parameters of this relationship include the characteristic concentration of bacteria in surface runoff and the characteristic concentration of bacteria in the base flow, and these parameters can be derived from synoptic bacteria and flow measurements. The effectiveness of the proposed method is demonstrated at several U.S. locations for both Escherichia coli and fecal coliform bacteria. Application of the proposed method at a particular location showed that the method can be used to identify the most effective bacteria source controls and that conventional application of the load-duration curve might lead to erroneous identification of target sources.

Keywords: bacteria; fate and transport; hydrographs; pathogens; streams; total maximum daily load

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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