Title

The Effect of the City Wastewater Treatment Plant on Water in the Columbia Area

School Name

Heathwood Hall Episcopal School

Grade Level

9th Grade

Presentation Topic

Environmental Science

Presentation Type

Non-Mentored

Abstract

This experiment aimed to discern the effect of the wastewater treatment plant in Columbia, South Carolina on fecal coliform and E. coli counts after and without precipitation. E. coli was tested as it is a fecal coliform that serves as an indicator species, noting the existence of pathogenic organisms. Sites in close proximity to the river and sites up and downstream from the plant on the Congaree river were sampled after precipitation and without precipitation. Samples were bagged and refrigerated. Then 3m petrifilm plates were inoculated with 1 ml of each sample, incubated for 24 hours at 42° +1° celsius, and then read using the colony counter app. The results suggest that non-precipitation trials yielded higher E. coli counts. The location with the highest number of E. coli was the Heathwood wetland R (right). These results contradict previous findings that suggest that CFUs (colony forming units) should be highest after precipitation. The results suggest that a number of factors could have influenced the high count of the wetland that day: animal feces, wastewater runoff from the Metropolitan Wastewater Plant, etc. The results of 0 colonies in the post-plant water may have resulted because of the lack of flowing river accessibility and rain rates, as high rain rates can flush pollutants from an area. This study had many possible sources of error, as the incubator temperature may have been too high at 42° + 1° and there was no way to control the amount of rain for the post-precipitation trials, among others.

Location

Founders Hall 213 A

Start Date

3-30-2019 8:30 AM

Presentation Format

Oral and Written

Group Project

No

COinS
 
Mar 30th, 8:30 AM

The Effect of the City Wastewater Treatment Plant on Water in the Columbia Area

Founders Hall 213 A

This experiment aimed to discern the effect of the wastewater treatment plant in Columbia, South Carolina on fecal coliform and E. coli counts after and without precipitation. E. coli was tested as it is a fecal coliform that serves as an indicator species, noting the existence of pathogenic organisms. Sites in close proximity to the river and sites up and downstream from the plant on the Congaree river were sampled after precipitation and without precipitation. Samples were bagged and refrigerated. Then 3m petrifilm plates were inoculated with 1 ml of each sample, incubated for 24 hours at 42° +1° celsius, and then read using the colony counter app. The results suggest that non-precipitation trials yielded higher E. coli counts. The location with the highest number of E. coli was the Heathwood wetland R (right). These results contradict previous findings that suggest that CFUs (colony forming units) should be highest after precipitation. The results suggest that a number of factors could have influenced the high count of the wetland that day: animal feces, wastewater runoff from the Metropolitan Wastewater Plant, etc. The results of 0 colonies in the post-plant water may have resulted because of the lack of flowing river accessibility and rain rates, as high rain rates can flush pollutants from an area. This study had many possible sources of error, as the incubator temperature may have been too high at 42° + 1° and there was no way to control the amount of rain for the post-precipitation trials, among others.