A Watershed Analysis of Seasonal Concentration- and Loading-Based Results for Escherichia coli in Inland Waters


Megan A. Stallard, Ryan R. Otter, Steve Winesett, Michelle Barbero, Mary Bruce, Alice Layton, Frank C. Bailey


Fecal indicator bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, are frequently monitored in recreational waterbodies as indicators of potential fecal pathogen presence and exposure. The present watershed analysis investigated the influence of season on E. coli concentration (MPN/100 mL) and loading (MPN/day) measurements for inland waters at baseflow conditions. The master dataset collected during 2007-2012 for three watersheds included 896 E. coli (Colilert) samples with simultaneous flow taken for a subset (39 %) of samples. The outcomes for grouped watersheds were reflected in most cases for individual watersheds. Concentration- and loading-based results were highest in summer and spring, and lowest in the winter and fall, respectively. The comparison of these two measurement techniques (concentration and loading) highlight the impact of flow data during baseflow conditions for inland waters and reveal that caution should be used when inferring one method’s results from another.

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Stallard MA, Otter RR, Winesett S, Barbero M, Bruce M, Layton A, Bailey FC. A watershed analysis of seasonal concentration- and loading-based results for Escherichia coli in inland waters. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 97:838-842.