Submitted to: USDA-CSREES National Water Quality Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 25, 2007
Publication Date: February 3, 2008
Citation: Lipp, E., Jenkins, M., Lowrance, R.R., Gay, P., Rajeev, S., Vereen Jr, E. 2008. Watershed scale transport of salmonella, campylobacter, and indicator organisms in the Satilla River Basin [abstract]. USDA-CSREES National Water Quality Conference, February 3-8, 2008, Sparks, Nevada. Technical Abstract: Broiler production in the coastal plain of Georgia has continued to increase and much of the resulting chicken litter is being applied to pastures and crop land because of its recognized value as soil amendment. Waste disposal issues are of importance as manure application on agricultural lands increases the risk of contaminating surface waters with pathogenic microorganisms such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. In this study, we are investigating the influence of land application of chicken litter, release of chicken processing plant effluent, and the presence of beef cattle on the prevalence of the pathogens, Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. in the stream network of the Satilla River Basin (SRB). The SRB located in southeast Georgia, is 2900 km2 in size, contains over 440 poultry houses, a waste water treatment plant receiving poultry processing effluent, and numerous beef cattle farms. Water samples are collected monthly from designated sites at the SRB. However, severe drought and minimal water flow, did not allow water collection from some the SRB sites. Water was tested for the presence of Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. by culture. Total coliforms, E. coli, and enterococci concentrations were measured with the Colilert and Enterolert Quanti-Tray system (from the IDEXX system most probable number estimation). Salmonella spp. was detected at several sites associated with poultry, including detection within the influent and effluent of a municipal wastewater treatment plant receiving poultry and slaughterhouse waste. Campylobacter spp. has not been detected at any sites. Installation of Low Impact Flow Event (LIFE) samplers to collect surface runoff samples from the edges of fields and pastures that have been identified within the SRB is underway. Samples from two LIFE samplers following a rain event were negative for pathogens. The results of this study will improve our understanding of the source of bacterial pathogens and indicator organisms in watersheds and their association with commercial-level animal agriculture, and will establish a foundation for continued protection of our nation’s water resources.