Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors Paper

First Advisor

David W. Buckalew. Ph.D.


The Appomattox River basin, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, is an extremely vital resource that many people depend on. Therefore the quality of the water is of great importance to many. Often, the water is assessed for the amount of pollutants that is in the water to ensure that it meets the standards laid out in the Clean Water Act. If water doesn’t meet these standards, then a plan is created to improve the quality of the water. In the state of Virginia, the most common cause of water failing to meet the standards is the result of fecal coliform bacteria. This bacteria cause’s water to fail inspection because it is introduced livestock and wildlife. Sayler’s Creek is one of the headwater’s that leads into the Appomattox River that does not meet the quality standards. Due to the lack in Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the creek is being monitored by a citizen program.

Fecal coliforms are not normally harmful, but when it is present in water indicates something harmful. This is because with the exit of fecal waste, other pathogens can exit with it. Some of the pathogens that are of concern can cause typhoid fever, salmonellosis, cholera, etc. Therefor when fecal coliform is found in water, it is an indicator of these other bacteria.

There is a problem with some of the research that is coming out of the project though. It isn’t taking into account how the runoff if affecting the bacteria in the watershed. The samples that were obtained in this research shows that the runoff is affecting the quality of the water. This means that contamination shouldn’t be taken out of context, a wide range of the water and its flow should be sampled before definite conclusions are drawn.



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