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 #331611

Research Project: Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency and Mitigating Nutrient and Pathogen Losses from Dairy Production Systems

Location: Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research

Title: Using enteric pathogens to assess sources of fecal contamination in the silurian dolomite aquifer: preliminary results

item MULDOON, MAUREEN - University Of Wisconsin
item Borchardt, Mark
item Spencer, Susan
item HUNT, RANDALL - Us Geological Survey (USGS)
item LENAKER, P. - Us Geological Survey (USGS)

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2017
Publication Date: 9/1/2017
Citation: Muldoon, M.A., Borchardt, M.A., Spencer, S.K., Hunt, R.J., Lenaker, P. 2017. Using enteric pathogens to assess sources of fecal contamination in the silurian dolomite aquifer: preliminary results. Meeting Proceedings. p. 347.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The fractured Silurian dolomite aquifer is an important, but vulnerable, source of drinking water in northeast Wisconsin. Areas underlain by the Silurian dolomite aquifer are extremely vulnerable to groundwater contamination from various land-use activities, especially the disposal of human wastewater and dairy manure. Currently there is no consensus as to which source of wastewater generates the greater impact to the aquifer. We conducted a pilot project in May 2014 to assess whether sampling private wells for viruses could be an effective method of assessing sources of wastewater impacts. Samples from 10 wells in northern Kewaunee County, Wisconsin revealed that seven of the ten wells were positive for fecal contamination. Two wells contained human-specific viruses, one well contained bovine-specific viruses, one well contained both virus types, and one well was positive for bovine Bacteroides. Salmonella species and Campylobacter jejuni were identified in four wells and one well, respectively, which is a human health concern. Our samples were also collected after the peak period of groundwater recharge due to spring snow melt. Thus our results may represent “background” levels of contamination by enteric pathogens.