High levels of fecal-indicator bacteria in rivers and streams can indicate the possible presence of pathogenic (disease-causing) microorganisms. Cholera, typhoid fever, bacterial dysentery, infectious hepatitis, and cryptosporidiosis are some of the well known waterborne diseases that spread through water contaminated and fecal matter. Eye, ear, nose, and throat infections also can result from contact with contaminated water. In general, methods are not routinely used to detect pathogens in water. Instead, bacteria such as total coliforms, fecal coliforms, fecal streptococci, Escherichia coli (E coli), and enterococci are used as indicators of sanitary water quality, because they are present in high numbers in fecal material and have been shown to be associated with some waterborne disease-causing organisms. Indicator bacteria usually are harmless, more plentiful, and easier to detect than pathogens. The concentration of bacteria in a sample of water is usually expressed as the number of bacterial colonies per 100 milliliters of water sample.
As part of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Program, 145 samples were collected and analyzed for selected water-quality constituents, fecal coliforms, and fecal streptococci at 17 sites in North and South Carolina from October 1995 through September 1996. Of the original 17 sites, 4 in South Carolina were sampled for E. coli and total coliforms from April through September 1997. At two sites, this sampling continued from October 1997 through April 1998.
|Title||Fecal-indicator bacteria in surface waters of the Santee River Basin and coastal drainages, North and South Carolina, 1995-98|
|Authors||Lance J. Wilhelm, Terry L. Maluk|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Fact Sheet|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||South Atlantic Water Science Center|