Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Science

Thesis Advisor

Peter Phillips

Committee Member

William Rogers

Committee Member

Matthew Heard


E.coli, Fecal Bacteria, Hidden Creek, Stream Sediment, Urban Streams, Water Quality


Hidden Creek, in Rock Hill, SC is in need of a watershed management program to decrease fecal coliform counts by 19% because currently, water samples measured for fecal bacteria exceed the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). One objective of this study was to locate the area/s along Hidden Creek with the highest fecal bacteria counts. The other objectives were to determine whether relationships existed between fecal bacteria and water quality parameters and whether the stream sediment was serving as a reservoir for fecal bacteria. Five sampling sites were established and samples were taken every 1- 2 weeks from June – September 2014 (the summer season). At each site, chemical and physical parameters such as pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and water temperature, were measured using a Eureka Manta Probe. Undisturbed and disturbed water samples from each site were analyzed for total fecal coliform and E. coli. The results showed that disturbed water samples had significantly higher total fecal coliform and E. coli counts than the samples taken from the overlying water column. Multiple regression analyses were performed to examine if DO, water temperature, and turbidity could be used to predict E. coli or total fecal coliform in Hidden Creek. There were no significant relationships between any of the factors. The variability in the number of E. coli and total fecal coliform colonies for each site were large which made it difficult to pinpoint a specific site of interest. The only sites that had significantly different E. coli counts were Riverview and Lexington. All other sites were not significantly different from each other for both E. coli and total fecal coliform. Across all of the sites combined, E. coli exceeded 235 cfus/100 mL and total fecal coliform exceeded 400 cfus/100 mL greater than 25% of time for both undisturbed and disturbed samples (the standards set by the Clean Water Act and EPA). This is a concern because Hidden Creek flows into the Catawba River which provides recreational uses and drinking water supply for surrounding areas. Overall, this study concluded that by monitoring bacteria in sediment, as well as the overlying water column, a more accurate depiction of water quality could be completed. This would save companies and municipalities time, money, and effort when creating an effective management program.


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