Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Public Health

Document Type



A water quality study was conducted on Lost River near Bowling Green, Kentucky. The emphasis of the study was to assess the influence of storm events on water quality and E. coli (cfu/100ml) levels. Lost River is a karst stream and flows underground for much of its course through Warren County and Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Lost River watershed is approximately 55 square miles and receives surface runoff from rural and urban land uses. Within the watershed exists the Lost River Cave and Valley, which receives secondary contact use throughout the year. A water quality assessment of multiple parameters was conducted to determine the impact of storm events for public health protection. Statistical methods were utilized to evaluate correlations between water quality parameters and differences in E. coli (cfu/100ml) levels with storm events. Results indicated that elevated fecal coliform levels corresponded to increased stage (ft). During the study period, 82.6% of geometric mean E. coli (cfu/100ml) values were found to be in non-compliance of the 1,000 cfu/100 ml geometric mean Kentucky Division of Water surface water regulation.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Ritchie Taylor


Environmental Public Health