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Fact Sheet 2011–3095

Evaluation of Fecal Contamination by Human and Ruminant Sources in Upper Fountain Creek, Colorado, 2007–2008, By Using Multiple Lines of Evidence

By Donald Stoeckel

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (3.1 MB)Abstract

Fountain Creek is a high-gradient stream on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The headwaters of Fountain Creek drain Pikes Peak, a major destination for tourism. Fountain Creek is a drinking-water source for the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is used for irrigation, recreation, and other purposes between Colorado Springs and the confluence with the Arkansas River at Pueblo, Colorado. In 2008, Fountain Creek was placed on the Colorado 303(d) list of impaired streams because of fecal contamination. Colorado uses a 30-day geometric mean standard of 126 Escherichia coli per 100 milliliters as its management goal for recreational waters. The objective of this study was to identify major sources of Escherichia coli in upper Fountain Creek during exceedances of the State recreational water standard. To meet this objective, a new approach was developed and tested that uses genetic marker analysis for microbial source tracking, along with other information, to evaluate potential contributions of fecal contamination from various sources.

First posted December 6, 2011

For additional information contact:
Center Director, USGS Colorado Water Science Center
Box 25046, Mail Stop 415
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Stoeckel, Donald, 2011, Evaluation of fecal contamination by human and ruminant sources in upper Fountain Creek, Colorado, 2007-2008, by using multiple lines of evidence: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3095, 4 p.

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