Year of Publication


Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Alan E. Fryar


Multiple parameters were monitored during an 18-month period in two karst groundwater basins in Woodford County, Kentucky, in order to assess the effects of land use on water quality. Blue Hole Spring drains a primarily urban area, whereas spring SP-2 drains an agricultural area. Water-quality parameters were monitored manually weekly or biweekly, as well as more frequently during storms. Discharge (Q), temperature (T), specific conductance (SC), and turbidity were continuously monitored and logged at 15-minute intervals. It is hypothesized that pathogen and sediment concentrations would be lower at SP-2 than at Blue Hole Spring due to differences in land use between basins. Average Q was greater at Blue Hole than at SP-2, and SC values were greater at Blue Hole than at SP-2 for 70 of 71 sample sets. During two monitored storms, as Q increased, SC decreased and turbidity increased. Biweekly Blue Hole fecal coliform (FC), total coliform (TC), and atypical colonies (AC) values averaged 160, 3,600, and 40,000 cfu/100 mL, respectively, and fluctuated more than at SP-2. Biweekly SP-2 FC, TC, and AC values averaged 130, 2,000, and 8,300 cfu/100 mL, respectively. Biweekly values for AC/TC averaged 14.29 at Blue Hole and 6.27 at SP-2. AC/TC ratios were greater at Blue Hole than at SP-2 for 29 of 31 biweekly sample sets. There is a statistically significant difference between the biweekly data sets from the two sites, as well as between data collected under WET and NORMAL flow conditions at each site. Male-specific coliphage (MSP) was detected in most samples collected from Blue Hole, but was never detected at SP-2. Given the proximity of the basins, differences in water quality appear to reflect differences in land use, as hypothesized. Results were similar to other studies in the Inner Bluegrass region. For both Blue Hole and SP-2, wet weather was associated with changes in certain parameters. This study has also shown that the AC/TC ratio appears to be a valid tool for determining the source of contamination within karst ground-water systems as well as in surface water.