During a 4 week institute in July, 1997, a team of
teachers from Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach, California,
was given the opportunity to do research on an environmental project of
their choice. Coming from an urban setting that experiences seasonal flood
control runoff that usually contains unsafe levels of contaminates, the
group tested for Escherichia coli in two local bodies of water,
the Delaware & Raritan Canal and Carnegie Lake.
Research on E.coli, especially its origin, presence in water, and effects on humans, was also done. A protocol for testing for the presence of E.coli was created and executed.
Testing consisted of collecting water samples from various locations on the lake and canal. Since the team had the equipment available for making a variety of tests on the sample, those additional tests were also made. Although one sample site had higher levels of E.coli than the other sites, all of the sites were within the limits for recreational use.
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Rainwater that falls on homes and roads is carried away through a storm drain system. This runoff may contain animal droppings contaminated by Escherichia coli bacteria (E. coli) which has been known to cause illness and/or death in humans. Since Carnegie Lake and the Delaware and Raritan Canal are used for recreational purposes, these bodies of water should be tested for the presence of E. coli.
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The level of E. coli will be greater in the Delaware & Raritan Canal than in Carnegie Lake.
History of Carnegie Lake and the Delaware & Raritan Canal:
Our testing for E.coli took place in Princeton, New Jersey
along the banks of Carnegie Lake and the Delaware & Raritan Canal.
Both are man-made bodies of water used mainly for recreational activities
including canoeing and fishing.
Background on Escherichia coli
Equipment and Procedure