2019 - Present
Supervisor(s): Anna Majury, Stephen Brown, Paul Hynds
Research Project: Assessing the relationship of Total Coliform to E.coli in the context of drivers of microbial contamination of drinking water wells in Ontario
Groundwater wells are the major source of drinking water for rural Canadians, including in Ontario. Previous studies have shown that these wells are susceptible to microbial contamination, putting public health at risk. My project will examine the impacts of various environmental and anthropogenic drivers on groundwater quality in the context of both public and watershed health. Unlike surface water, which flows through a region or area, groundwater persists 'locally' for extended periods and thus may serve as a better indicator of overall watershed health for a given region.
In Ontario, private well waters are tested for both E. coli and total coliforms in order to provide some indication of water potability. Using a dataset which combines microbial water quality data with well characteristic data (e.g. age, depth, construction, location, geology), the relationship of TC to E.coli, as well as to the various potential drivers of contamination, such as climate, well characteristics, land use, geology and other, will be explored. My overall aims are to further define and better understand the role of TC as a microbial water quality indicator for water potability determinations, as well as determine what drives TC contamination and what this means in the context of overall watershed health.