Research Publication Title

The Impact of Hurricane Florence on Fecal Contamination in Rivers of North Carolina

Presenter Information

Ariana BachoonFollow

Major

Biology

Faculty Mentor

Sam Mutiti and Dave Bachoon

Keywords

bacteria, water, contamination, E. coli

Abstract

After recent flooding caused by hurricane Florence in North Carolina there was widespread fecal and industrial contamination of rivers and lakes in the region. The aim of our study were to assess the levels of fecal pollution and nutrient contamination in rivers in the Mt. Olive region of North Carolina. Water samples were collected from seven rivers in the area and the level of E. coliwere enumerated using IDEXX Colilert reagent. During the sampling event in October 2nd, the E. colicounts were all below USEPA standards for safe recreational use. Nitrate levels were all within normal the range while phosphate concentration were slightly elevated ranging from 0.5 ppm to 1.35 ppm. The Smithfield samples had the highest E.colicounts of 193.5 MPN/100 ml. In November E colicounts at all seven sites increases dramatically and was highest at the Bentoville site with 410.6 MPN/100 ml. Samples collected in February 2019 all had E. colicounts below 100 MPN/100ml. Bentonville also had the highest phosphate concentration of all the sampled sites. These preliminary results suggest that there is a need to continue monitoring these sites for both fecal and nutrient pollution and identify potential sources of contamination.

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The Impact of Hurricane Florence on Fecal Contamination in Rivers of North Carolina

After recent flooding caused by hurricane Florence in North Carolina there was widespread fecal and industrial contamination of rivers and lakes in the region. The aim of our study were to assess the levels of fecal pollution and nutrient contamination in rivers in the Mt. Olive region of North Carolina. Water samples were collected from seven rivers in the area and the level of E. coliwere enumerated using IDEXX Colilert reagent. During the sampling event in October 2nd, the E. colicounts were all below USEPA standards for safe recreational use. Nitrate levels were all within normal the range while phosphate concentration were slightly elevated ranging from 0.5 ppm to 1.35 ppm. The Smithfield samples had the highest E.colicounts of 193.5 MPN/100 ml. In November E colicounts at all seven sites increases dramatically and was highest at the Bentoville site with 410.6 MPN/100 ml. Samples collected in February 2019 all had E. colicounts below 100 MPN/100ml. Bentonville also had the highest phosphate concentration of all the sampled sites. These preliminary results suggest that there is a need to continue monitoring these sites for both fecal and nutrient pollution and identify potential sources of contamination.