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Wetlands are increasingly becoming a cornerstone of stream remediation in the highly eutrophic regions of the Midwestern United States. Wetlands have numerous advantages over other technologies as they incorporate natural biological process resultant from plants and bacteria while also providing an increase in wildlife habitat and greenspaces rather than relying on costly and technologically complex processes to treat waterways. The capacity for wetlands to remediate nutrients and improve water clarity is fairly well established. However, less is known about their potential to affect changes in the pathogenic microbial communities (such as E. coli) commonly associated with runoff in agricultural areas with high populations of livestock and manure runoff. The objective of our research study was to assess remediation potential by quantifying stream bacterial concentration of fecal coliforms before and after flowing through a wetland in Grand Lake St Marys watershed. Results indicated that stream water far exceeded established Ohio Dept of Health exposure guidelines of ~235CFU per 100ml sample, ranging up to over 4,000 CFU but that the wetlands reduced concentrations of Ecoli from between 50 and 85% on average,with the highest reductions in the spring. These results provide additional positive information regarding the potential for wetland remediation Ohio waterways.

Publication Date

Spring 2020


Wetlands; Fecal coliforms


Environmental Sciences | Life Sciences

Potential for Wetlands to Remediate Harmful Pathogenic Fecal Coliform Bacteria from Streams