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Stream Sampling and Source Tracking to Assess a Fecal-Bacteria TMDL

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Watershed Management to Meet Water Quality Standards and Emerging TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Proceedings of the Third Conference 5-9 March 2005 (Atlanta, Georgia USA) Publication Date 5 March 2005  701P0105.(doi:10.13031/2013.18046)
Authors:   Philip L. Barnes, Kyle R. Mankin

The State of Kansas has implemented a high-priority fecal-bacterial TMDL on Upper Wakarusa River (HUC 10270104010) watershed near Topeka, Kansas. This watershed drains a 942.8 km2 watershed, which is predominately rangeland, and has designated uses of aquatic life support, primary contact recreation, domestic water supply, food procurement and livestock watering. The TMDL process set a bacterial-load curve by multiplying stream flow values by the target fecal-bacteria concentration to derive a daily load-duration curve that shows the probability of exceedance vs. colonies of bacteria per day. Excursions from the water quality criterion are seen as points plotted above the daily load-duration curve. Streams at multiple locations within the watershed were monitored weekly during the growing season and monthly outside the growing season. On each date, stream flow and concentration of fecal bacteria (E. coli and fecal coliforms) were determined and bacterial source (human, livestock, urban pets, and wildlife) estimated using antibiotic resistance methods. Fecal bacteria data for the sampling site were categorized for each of three defined seasons (with characteristic flow conditions): Spring to Early-Summer (Apr-Jul), Late-Summer to fall (Aug-Oct) and winter (Nov-Mar). This presentation will present one year of stream sampling and antibiotic-resistance source-tracking data, and demonstrate methods being used to identify the source species and their locations within the watershed. Strategies for utilizing these data to target educational and cost-share efforts to achieve TMDL targets will be discussed.

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