Comparison of Water Quality through Coliform Bacteria Levels in Northern New Jersey Rivers
Authors: Myla Ramirez, Jewel Lipps, Paul Tomasula, Meiyin Wu, Lee H. Lee.
Biological organisms can pose a threat to water quality and can be responsible for waterborne diseases. Because it is very expensive and time consuming to test for each pathogenic organism, coliform bacteria, which originate in environmental and animal sources, serve as good pathogenic indicator organisms. This study focused on the water quality in two New Jersey Rivers: Flat Brook River and Passaic River, which contrast in urban and agricultural land use. Water samples were taken over two months and tested for coliforms using EPA adapted methods, total coliform and fecal coliform tests. It was concluded that urbanized areas, specifically highly urban and agriculturally developed areas, had an increased level of coliforms. Further research, such as Microbial Source Tracking (MST), will be conducted to identify the origin of fecal contamination.