KWRRI Research Reports


This project consisted of analyzing existing water quality data for streams in the Upper Forks of Kentucky River Basin, with a particular focus on pathogen trends. According to the most recent 303(d) list of Kentucky waters, the majority of streams assessed in the Upper Forks of Kentucky River Basin are impaired for primary recreational contact as a result of pathogens. The state pathogen standard for primary contact recreation is expressed in a dual form which specifies that the 30-day geometric mean of fecal coliform counts not exceed 200 colonies per 100 mL (on a minimum of five samples) and not more than 20 percent of samples should exceed 400 colonies per 100 mL (KAR, 2002). Historical monitoring data were utilized to assess fecal coliform concentrations and to evaluate the level of success of previous and ongoing projects in the basin. These projects are being funded and implemented through Section 319(h) of the EPA Clean Water Act, Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, the USCOE 531 wastewater program, and the Kentucky Wastewater Program to reduce the level of pathogens in the basin. The assessment utilized historic monitoring data obtained from four different sources: 1) the KYDOW ambient water quality network, 2) the KYDOW focused sampling network, 3) the Kentucky Watershed Watch network, and 4) the University of Kentucky monitoring network. The evaluation involved the analysis of the combined data sets using standard statistical measures to assess pathogen trends and project impacts. Land use patterns were documented to help identify likely pathogen sources, and areas of BMP implementation were examined for correlation with any water quality improvements. Decreases in fecal coliform concentrations were noted for several individual sampling sites throughout the basin and for the aggregated data from the entire basin considered together. The project was coordinated by the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute (KWRRI) at the University of Kentucky and involved staff from the KWRRI as well as faculty and students from the Department of Civil Engineering. The project was coordinated with TMDL personnel associated with the Kentucky Division of Water.

Publication Date


Funding Information

This report was developed with support from and collaboration with the Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Grant Number 06HQG0087