Nancy White

UNC Coastal Studies Institute

Title: Fecal Coliform Export from Four Coastal North Carolina Areas.

Monday November 3rd, 4pm, Mann Hall 323

Abstract: Fecal coliform (FC) bacteria in coastal waters impair the use of these waters for shellfish harvesting and recreation. This study was designed to quantify and compare FC levels and export in two coastal watersheds with different land uses. Continuous monitoring of rainfall and discharge at three sites in the Jumping Run Creek watershed and one site in the Pettiford Creek watershed were conducted during a 4.5-year period. Primary land use in the drainage area of one of the three Jumping Run Creek sites is low density industrial, while the other two are residential. Land use in the Pettiford Creek watershed is managed national forest. Non-storm or base-flow grab and flow-proportional storm-event samples were collected and analyzed for turbidity, conductivity, suspended sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, and FC. Geometric mean FC levels for the Jumping Run Creek monitoring sites ranged from 593 to 2,096 mpn/100 ml. while the mean level at the Pettiford Creek site was 191 mpn/100 ml. Levels of most other parameters were greater in storm discharge from the Jumping Run Creek sites as compared to Pettiford Creek indicating that pollutant export from a watershed increases with development. Statistical analysis of the monitoring data suggested that FC levels in stormwater samples consistently increased with storm rainfall, but were not consistently correlated with any other parameter, including total suspended solids. Multivariate analysis indicated that the weekly FC export for each of the four sites was lowest during the December—February quarter. Export was highest during the spring and summer at the Jumping Run Creek sites, while for the Pettiford Creek site, FC export was highest during September—November. The cause of the seasonal variability was unknown but was thought to be associated with human activity in the watersheds.