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Multi-Year Microbial Source Tracking Study Characterizing Fecal Contamination in an Urban Watershed

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Microbiological and hydrological data were used to rank tributary stream contributions of bacteria to the Little Blue River in Independence, Missouri. Concentrations, loadings and yields of E. coli and microbial source tracking (MST) markers, were characterized during base flow and storm events in five subbasins within Independence, as well as sources entering and leaving the city through the river. The E. coli water quality threshold was exceeded in 29% of base-flow and 89% of storm-event samples. The total contribution of E. coli and MST markers from tributaries within Independence to the Little Blue River, regardless of streamflow, did not significantly increase the median concentrations leaving the city. Daily loads and yields of E. coli and MST markers were used to rank the subbasins according to their contribution of each constituent to the river. The ranking methodology used in this study may prove useful in prioritizing remediation in the different subbasins.
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Keywords: Bacteroides; E. coli; TMDL; microbial source tracking; stormwater runoff; urban watershed

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2017

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    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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