Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Casanova

Second Advisor

Dr. Christine Stauber

Abstract

The Chattahoochee River is an essential surface water source as it provides over 70 percent of Metro Atlanta’s drinking water, amounting to over 300 million gallons. In addition to serving as Metro Atlanta’s primary source of drinking water, the Chattahoochee River serves as a major point of discharge for industrial and municipal waste as well as urban runoff.

The primary goal of this study was to assess the presence of Pepper Mild Mottle Virus in the Chattahoochee River. During a five-month period in 2014, water samples were collected at fifteen sample sites and two outfall sites in the Chattahoochee River. PMMoV was tested for in 6 out of 17 sample. A one-way ANOVA analysis (p<0.05), of concentrations across sampling locations resulted in a p-value of 0.044. As a result, it can be determined that the location of the sampling sites does result in a statistically significant difference in the PMMoV values observed. Furthermore, a one-way ANOVA analysis (p<0.05), of concentrations across sampling dates resulted in a p-value of 0.063. Therefore, it is determined that the dates on which sampling took place did not result in a statistically significant difference in the PMMoV values observed across time . Furthermore, the MS2 virus was also detected in these samples. Through a paired t-test (p<0.05), between the sample concentrations with and without MS2 presence, it was determined that there was no statistical difference in concentration of PMMoV when MS2 is present since p=0.0740

The results indicate that PMMoV was present in the Chattahoochee River due to the detection of PMMoV in the samples collected. However, additional investigations, using a larger sample size, are needed to assess PMMoV as a viable indicator of fecal contamination of ambient surface waters and recreational waters.

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