Microbiological Monitoring for the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Program

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2000-4018
By: , and 



Data to characterize the microbiological quality of the Nation's fresh, marine, and estuarine waters are usually collected for local purposes, most often to judge compliance with standards for protection of public health in swimmable or drinkable waters. Methods and procedures vary with the objectives and practices of the parties collecting data and are continuously being developed or modified. Therefore, it is difficult to provide a nationally consistent picture of the microbial quality of the Nation's waters.

Study objectives and guidelines for a national microbiological monitoring program are outlined in this report, using the framework of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. A national program is designed to provide long-term data on the presence of microbiological pathogens and indicators in ground water and surface water to support effective water policy and management. Three major groups of waterborne pathogens affect the public health acceptability of waters in the United States—bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Microbiological monitoring in NAWQA would be designed to assess the occurrence, distribution, and trends of pathogenic organisms and indicators in surface waters and ground waters; relate the patterns discerned to factors that help explain them; and improve our understanding of the processes that control microbiological water quality.

Suggested Citation

Francy, D.S., Myers, D.N., and Helsel, D.R., 2000, Microbiological monitoring for the US Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Program: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 2000–4018, 31 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/wri004018.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Overview of microbiological pathogens and indicators
  • Occurrence and distribution of microbiological indicators in ground water and streamwater, 1997
  • Goals and objectives of microbiological monitoring in a National Water-Quality Assessment Program
  • Recommendations for data collection and analysis
  • Summary of objectives and recommendations
  • References cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Microbiological monitoring for the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Program
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 2000-4018
DOI 10.3133/wri004018
Edition -
Year Published 2000
Language English
Publisher U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
Publisher location Reston, VA
Description vi, 31 p. ;28 cm.
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