Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Casanova

Second Advisor

Dr. Christine Stauber

Abstract

Urban development and increased impervious surfaces have contributed to pollution loading in the Chattahoochee River and Proctor Creek, major urban waterways and receiving waters for Atlanta stormwater and wastewater effluent.

The purpose of this study was to investigate spatial and temporal variation in E. coli and bacteriophage MS2 and relationships with Dissolved Oxygen, turbidity, rainfall, and riverflow; and to determine if wastewater effluent discharge points in the river influence bacterial levels. During a five-month period, water samples were collected at fifteen sample sites and two outfall sites in the Chattahoochee River, and five Proctor Creek sites. No significant spatial variation in mean E. coli concentration was found for the Chattahoochee and concentrations of bacteria were not significantly different upstream and downstream of wastewater effluent outfalls. However, there was significant temporal variation in mean E. coli concentrations for the Chattahoochee River (p < 0.0001) and Proctor Creek.

These findings indicate that E. coli and MS2 are commonly present in the river across wide spatial and time scales, possibly due to nonpoint source pollution.

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