Microorganisms in stormwater; a summary of recent investigations

Open-File Report 80-1198



All storm runoff contains a variety of bacteria, including total coliform, fecal coliform, and fecal streptococci, which are derived from the land over which the water flows. Most total coliform are native soil organisms, whereas the fecal coliform and fecal streptococci originate from the feces of wild and domestic animals. Urban runoff has been reported to contain pathogenic organisms, but this probably presents little direct threat to human health because the runoff is not ingested. Runoff water can, however, have other negative effects such as contamination of surface water, which may result in beach closures, or contamination of shellfish. This type of contamination is generally of short duration because indicator bacteria and pathogens die out rapidly in the aquatic environment. Similarly, bacteria and viruses deposited on soil by stormwater are inactivated by drying, competition from soil microflora, and a variety of other processes. Every storm producing runoff is unique in the number and type of microorganisms because these vary from site to site, from storm to storm, and during the course of the storm. Stormwater to be examined for microorganisms must be collected in sterile containers and processed immediately. (USGS)
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Microorganisms in stormwater; a summary of recent investigations
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 80-1198
DOI 10.3133/ofr801198
Edition -
Year Published 1980
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey,
Description iv, 22 p. ill. ;28 cm.
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