Samples were collected from 59 noncommunity water supplies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from September 2000 to January 2001 and analyzed for pathogens and microbiological indicator organisms. The pathogens sampled were culturable viruses and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). The indicator organisms sampled were total coliform, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens), somatic coliphage, male- specific coliphage, and enterococcus. The two primary areas sampled for the project completed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP), were carbonate aquifers and crystalline aquifers. The results of all sampling showed culturable viruses were detected in 8 percent of the wells, H. pyloriin 7 percent of the wells, E. coli in 12 percent of the wells, total coliform in 46 percent of the wells, C. perfringens in 15 percent of the wells, somatic coliphage in 8 percent of the wells, male-specific coliphage in 5 percent of the wells, and enterococcus in 14 percent of the wells. Carbonate aquifers tended to have higher detection rates for the pathogens and indicators sampled than the crystalline aquifers. Detections of the pathogens and indicator organisms were not related statistically to the amounts of urban, agricultural, or forested area in a 1,500-foot radius around the sampled well. Somatic and male-specific coliphage showed the best relation to occurrence of culturable viruses. Culturable viruses and H. pylori were detected in wells in which no indicator organisms were present; therefore, none of the indicator organisms sampled provide complete assurance of pathogenfree water. The best predictive tool for virus screening was a combination of indicator organisms.
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USGS Numbered Series
Microbiological quality of water from noncommunity supply wells in carbonate and crystalline aquifers of Pennsylvania