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Appl Microbiol. 1967 Nov;15(6):1362-70.

Seasonal Variations in Survival of Indicator Bacteria in Soil and Their Contribution to Storm-water Pollution.

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Cincinnati Water Research Laboratory, Federal Water Pollution Control Administration, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226.


Survival of a fecal coliform (Escherichia coli) and a fecal streptococcus (Streptococcus faecalis var. liquifaciens) was studied through several years at shaded and exposed outdoor soil plots. Death rates for both organisms were calculated for the different seasons at both sites. The 90% reduction times for the fecal coliform ranged from 3.3 days in summer to 13.4 days in autumn. For the fecal streptococcus, 90% reduction times were from 2.7 days in summer to 20.1 days in winter. During summer, the fecal coliform survived slightly longer than the fecal streptococcus; during autumn, survival was the same; and in spring and winter the fecal streptococcus survived much longer than the fecal coliform. Both organisms were isolated from storm-water runoff collected below a sampling site when counts were sufficiently high in soil. Isolation was more frequent during prolonged rains, lasting up to 10 days, than during short rain storms. There was evidence of aftergrowth of nonfecal coliforms in the soil as a result of temperature and rainfall variations. Such aftergrowth may contribute to variations in bacterial count of storm-water runoff which have no relation to the sanitary history of the drainage area.


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