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Water Res. 2008 May;42(10-11):2803-13. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2008.02.028. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Influence of land use and watershed characteristics on protozoa contamination in a potential drinking water resources reservoir.

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National Risk Management Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, 919 Kerr Research Drive, Ada, OK 74820, USA.


Relative changes in the microbial quality of Lake Texoma, on the border of Texas and Oklahoma, were investigated by monitoring protozoan pathogens, fecal indicators, and factors influencing the intensity of the microbiological contamination of surface water reservoirs. The watershed serves rural agricultural communities active in cattle ranching, recreation, and is a potential drinking water source. A total of 193 surface water samples were tested over a 27-month period to determine levels of parasite contamination. The overall occurrence of Cryptosporidium oocysts was higher in both frequency and concentration than Giardia cysts. Cryptosporidium oocysts were found in 99% and Giardia cysts in 87% of the samples. Although Cryptosporidium and Giardia occurrence were significantly but not strongly correlated, all other correlation coefficients including turbidity and total dissolved solids were non-significant. Statistically supportable seasonal variations were found suggesting that Cryptosporidium and Giardia were higher in summer and fall than in other seasons of the year. While Cryptosporidium levels were correlated with rainfall, this was not the case with Giardia. The maximum numbers for both protozoan parasites were detected from a site impacted by cattle ranching during calving season. Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis was used for confirmation of Cryptosporidium in surface waters influenced by agricultural discharges. As we had expected, oocysts were of the bovine type indicating that the Cryptosporidium parvum detected in surface waters perhaps came from cattle living in the watershed.

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