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Miscellaneous Paper E-82-6, prepared by the Environmental Science Program, University of Texas at Dallas for the U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, CE, Vicksburg, Miss.


Assessing the microbiological water quality of impoundments and the potential for waterborne disease outbreaks is a difficult task when using traditional sampling programs. Problems associated with using fecal coliform bacteria as indicators of human pathogen presence complicates assessments of future water quality in preimpoundment areas. Reliable determination of future and present microbiological water quality requires knowledge of how the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of the watershed and impoundment interrelate to influence microbial indicator and pathogen densities. Accurate estimates of microbial indicator and pathogen densities, obtainable by using the enumeration methods and their modifications suggested in this report, will allow monitoring of the proper indicator organisms and estimation of potential sites of pathogen occurrence, density, and survival. Sampling programs must be geared toward critical time periods and areas; i.e., summer months, storm flows, feeder streams, agricultural and urban runoff, and swimming areas, including water and sediments. Frequency of sampling should be dictated by variability of water conditions, confidence level of data, and extent of human contact. Choice of proper indicator organisms and enumeration methods and appropriate sampling strategies will allow sound preimpoundment assessment and reservoir management to greatly reduce the risk of waterborne disease outbreaks.

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