Author(s): Jamieson RC, Joy DM, Lee H, Kostaschuk R, Gordon RJ
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Abstract In this study, a tracer bacteria was used to investigate the resuspension and persistence of sediment-associated bacteria in a small alluvial stream. The study was conducted in Swan Creek, located within the Grand River watershed of Ontario, Canada. A 1.1-m2 section of the bed was seeded with a strain of Escherichia coli resistant to nalidixic acid (E. coli NAR). The survival, transport, and redistribution of the tracer bacteria within a 1.7-km river section downstream of the source cell was assessed for a 2-mo period following the introduction of the tracer bacteria. This study has illustrated that enteric bacteria can survive in bed sediments for up 6 wk and that inactivation of the tracer bacteria resembled typical first-order decay. Critical conditions for resuspension, as well as resuspension rates, of sediment-associated bacteria were determined for several storm events. The critical shear stress for E. coli NAR resuspension in Swan Creek ranged from 1.5 to 1.7 N m(-2), which is comparable with literature values for critical shear stresses for erosion of cohesive sediments. Bacteria resuspension was primarily limited to the rising limb of storm hydrographs implying that a finite supply of sediment-associated bacteria are available for resuspension during individual storm events. The information presented in this paper will further the development of representative microbial water quality models.
This article was published in J Environ Qual
and referenced in Hydrology: Current Research