Locating Point and Non-point Sources of Escherichia coli in the Mechumps Creek Watershed,
Hanover County, Virginia
EVST 105, 2006 – 2009
For this project, RMC’s Environmental Studies students partnered with the Virginia
Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ), the County of Hanover, and the Town
of Ashland to locate sources of fecal coliform bacteria (using the indicator species
Escherichia coli or E. coli) in the College’s local watershed.
In 1998 and 2002, the VADEQ listed 5.69 stream miles along Mechumps Creek, Hanover
County, Virginia as impaired because of violations of fecal coliform bacteria. During
a four-year period, RMC students sampled runoff and storm drains during rainstorms
and dry periods and performed lab work to identify sources and quantify amounts
of E. coli reaching Mechumps Creek. Additional work included determining
the reliability of Bacterial Source Tracking methods used to identify the source
of fecal bacteria in environmental samples (e.g. from humans, livestock, or wildlife).