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Relation of Bacteria in Limestone Aquifers to Septic Systems in Berkeley County, West Virginia

Water Resources-Investigations Report 00-4229

By Melvin V. Mathes

 

ABSTRACT

Water samples collected from 50 wells in Berkeley County, West Virginia, during June 2000 were analyzed for indicator bacteria. Of the 50 wells sampled, 62 percent (31 wells) contained total coliform bacteria, 32 percent (16 wells) contained Escherichia coli, and 30 percent (15 wells) contained fecal coliform bacteria. Although bacteria were present in many wells regardless of the number of septic systems in a 5-acre circular area around each well, no apparent correlation was detected between septic-system density and concentrations of bacteria colonies. There was also little difference in the frequency of total coliform bacteria detection between shallow and deep wells; however, the highest concentrations of E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria were found in the shallowest wells. At least one of the three bacteria types was found in samples of untreated water in 32 of the 50 wells. At 21 of the 32 wells with bacteria present, there was no treatment of the ground water to remove bacteria.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract

Introduction

Background

Previous Hydrogeologic Investigations

Topography, Ground-Water Flow, and Land Use in Berkeley County

Acknowledgments

Study Methods

Selection of Sampling Sites

Collection and Analysis of Samples

Relation of Bacteria in Wells to Septic Systems

Summary and Conclusions

References Cited

FIGURES

  1. Map showing location of study area, geology, and sample locations in Berkeley County, West Virginia

2-7. Graphs showing:

  1. Escherichia coli bacteria concentration and septic-system densityof wells sampled June 2000 in Berkeley County
  2. Fecal coliform bacteria concentration and septic-system density of wells sampled June 2000 in Berkeley County
  3. Total coliform bacteria concentration and septic-system density of wells sampled June 2000 in Berkeley County
  4. Depth of wells sampled and Escherichia coli bacteria concentrations detected June 2000 in Berkeley County
  5. Depth of wells sampled and fecal coliform bacteria concentrations detected June 2000 in Berkeley County
  6. Depth of wells sampled and total coliform bacteria concentrations detected June 2000 in Berkeley County

TABLES

  1. Site information and detections of bacteria for wells sampled in June 2000 in Berkeley County, West Virginia
  2. Number and percentage of wells containing bacteria for each septic density sampled June 2000 in Berkeley County

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WRI 004229  (616 KB)    - 17 pages


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