Fecal-indicator bacteria in surface waters of the Santee River Basin and coastal drainages, North and South Carolina, 1995-98

Fact Sheet 085-98
National Water-Quality Assessment Program
By:  and 

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Introduction

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.

Suggested Citation

Wilhelm, L.J., and Maluk, T.L., 1998, Fecal-indicator bacteria in surface waters of the Santee River Basin and coastal drainages, North and South Carolina, 1995-98: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 1998–0085, 6 p., https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/fs08598.

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Significant Findings
  • Introduction
  • Setting
  • Sources of Fecal-Indicator Bacteria
  • Additional Research
  • References
  • Water-Quality Standards for Fecal-Indicator Bacteria
  • Fecal-Indicator Bacteria Sampling and Analysis
  • Results of Fecal-Indicator Bacteria Analysis

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Fecal-indicator bacteria in surface waters of the Santee River Basin and coastal drainages, North and South Carolina, 1995-98
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 085-98
DOI 10.3133/fs08598
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) South Atlantic Water Science Center
Description 6 p.
Country United States
State North Carolina, South Carolina
Other Geospatial Santee River basin and coastal drainages