Title

Investigation of Wilson Creek Coliform Bacteria Sources Within Ellensburg City Limits

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Water Quality, Coliform, Antibiotic Resistance

Abstract

The city of Ellensburg, Washington, is heavily invested in agriculture and livestock production. The concern for contamination of local streams and rivers represents an important local issue that sits at the crossroads of science, community health, politics, and the rural lifestyle. Previous research projects have found that fecal coliform levels of Wilson Creek are three times higher in Ellensburg than they are in the water surrounding town, with in-town levels dangerously exceeding surface water quality standards as set forth in Washington State law. The focus of this research was to find the location and source of coliform bacteria making its way into Wilson Creek in Ellensburg. Sample sites were established along Wilson Creek from September to November 2014 where biweekly standardized water sample tests were performed. Total coliform counts from the various sample sites have narrowed the suspected input source to a two-block stretch of Wilson Creek. A drop in the coliform level following the cessation of irrigation water flow suggest the source of contamination is the nearby canal. Continuing research has isolated several strains of coliform bacteria from the creek, tested them for antibacterial resistance, and attempted to identify the species of bacteria. This research is taking place in conjunction with city water management specialists and represents a joint effort between the City of Ellensburg and the Biological Sciences Department at Central Washington University to protect public health by identifying and eliminating sources of dangerous bacteria in local surface waterways.

Poster Number

47

Faculty Mentor(s)

Holly Pinkart

Department/Program

Biological Sciences

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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May 21st, 8:30 AM May 21st, 11:00 AM

Investigation of Wilson Creek Coliform Bacteria Sources Within Ellensburg City Limits

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

The city of Ellensburg, Washington, is heavily invested in agriculture and livestock production. The concern for contamination of local streams and rivers represents an important local issue that sits at the crossroads of science, community health, politics, and the rural lifestyle. Previous research projects have found that fecal coliform levels of Wilson Creek are three times higher in Ellensburg than they are in the water surrounding town, with in-town levels dangerously exceeding surface water quality standards as set forth in Washington State law. The focus of this research was to find the location and source of coliform bacteria making its way into Wilson Creek in Ellensburg. Sample sites were established along Wilson Creek from September to November 2014 where biweekly standardized water sample tests were performed. Total coliform counts from the various sample sites have narrowed the suspected input source to a two-block stretch of Wilson Creek. A drop in the coliform level following the cessation of irrigation water flow suggest the source of contamination is the nearby canal. Continuing research has isolated several strains of coliform bacteria from the creek, tested them for antibacterial resistance, and attempted to identify the species of bacteria. This research is taking place in conjunction with city water management specialists and represents a joint effort between the City of Ellensburg and the Biological Sciences Department at Central Washington University to protect public health by identifying and eliminating sources of dangerous bacteria in local surface waterways.