Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #290914

Title: Contaminant transport pathways between urban sewer networks and water supply wells

item GOTKOWITZ, MADELINE - Wisconsin Geological And Natural History Survey
item BRADBURY, KENNETH - Wisconsin Geological And Natural History Survey
item Borchardt, Mark

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/12/2013
Publication Date: 3/7/2013
Citation: Gotkowitz, M.B., Bradbury, K.R., Borchardt, M.A. 2013. Contaminant transport pathways between urban sewer networks and water supply wells. Meeting Abstract. March 7-8, 2013.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Water supply wells and sanitary sewers are critical components of urban infrastructure, but sewer leakage threatens the quality of groundwater in sewered areas. Previous work by our group has documented the presence of human enteric viruses in deep public supply wells. Our current research uses such viruses as a waste water tracer to identify contaminant transport pathways between sewer networks and supply wells. Enteric viruses are excellent tracers of sanitary sewage because they are mobile in the subsurface, can be uniquely identified, and can be quantified over a broad concentration range, from millions to a fraction of genomic copies per liter. Project objectives include quantifying the temporal and spatial distribution of pathogenic viruses in shallow groundwater near urban sewers, and establishing correlations between virus presence in groundwater and sewer characteristics such as age, material, and overall condition. Seven field sites were developed near sewers ranging in age from 10 to 75 years old. The network of 22 monitoring and supply wells will be sampled twice monthly for one year. Samples are analyzed for viruses, coliform bacteria, major ions and environmental isotopes. Ultimately, development of this urban groundwater monitoring network and these water quality data will contribute to proactive risk assessment, useful monitoring, and maintenance of sewer and water supply infrastructure.