Date of Award

Spring 1-14-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Casanova

Second Advisor

Dr. Matthew Magee


INTRODUCTION: Tanyard Creek is one of the urban creeks in metro Atlanta that make up the large urban sub-watersheds sending huge volumes of storm water draining into the Chattahoochee River. The creek is considered impaired, with large visible signs that warn do not play, swim or fish in the creek: As an urban creek and is subject to sewage overflows and runoff contamination. Urban runoff can carry contaminants, such as sewage runoff, animal waste, chemical pollutants, and pesticides to the creek, creating health risks for those who have access to it. To better understand what kinds of contaminants are in the creek, we can look for organisms such as bacteria and viruses. One such virus is bacteriophage MS2. If MS2 is present in this creek, it is an indication that it is possibly human and animal fecal pollution present. Therefore, it is essential to understand the pattern of these indicators as it relates to waterborne illnesses.

AIM: This research will determine the trends of MS2 and E.coli Tanyard Creek if they differ spatially from sampling site to sampling site and temporally. Additional goals include understanding the natural variability and the relationship with rainfall. Also, the relationship between MS2 and E. coli will be examined.

METHODS: Water samples were collected weekly at ten sites downstream from Tanyard Creek CSO located off Collier Road at Ardmore Park which is considered part of the Atlanta Beltline. All samples collected from the creek were then brought to the lab for analysis of microorganisms through membrane filtration and viral assay.

RESULTS: Both MS2 and E. coli are present in Tanyard Creek, at levels higher than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. This data indicates temporal trends; during the August-September, there are higher counts of E.coli. When data were presented on a spatial level, it was discovered that the higher numbers of E. coli were present after the beaver dam that is in the considered to be the middle or the halfway point of Tanyard Creek Park.