In 2005-2006, 87% of all reported cases of disease outbreak in the United States related to recreational water use was caused by bacterial infections of the gastrointestinal tract. Several locations featuring recreational bodies of water in Western New York include: Durand Eastman Beach, Charlotte Beach, the Genesee River, Black Creek, Irondequoit Bay and Oatka Creek. Adequate monitoring of water quality is necessary due to contamination with pathogenic strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and enteric pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella typhimurium, and Shigella sonnei that can threaten the safety of swimming in these recreational waters. Except for P. aeruginosa, which is a ubiquitous microorganism, these pathogens are not normally found in surface waters and sediments. This study looks at the survival rate of various human pathogens in freshwater and sediments used recreationally in the Rochester area. A loopful of pathogenic cells were incubated overnight in nutrient broth; and then inoculated into various water/sediment samples to test the survival rate of each pathogen by plating each pathogen to specific isolation media over time. The pH was measured in surface waters and sediments (~8.2 and ~7.6, respectively) and it appears that pH does have some affect on pathogen survivability. The survival rate of pathogenic microorganisms cannot be predicted by using the nutrient concentration (nitrate and phosphate) where low or high nutrient concentrations had no effect on the fate of pathogen survival rate in the water or sediments. With the nutrient pollution in Lake Ontario, it appears to not have a major effect on the survival rate of P. aeruginosa, E. coli, S. typhimurium, S. sonnei.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pathogenic microorganisms--Detection--New York (State), Western; Water quality--New York (State), Western

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Environmental Science (MS)


Jeff Lodge

Advisor/Committee Member

Karl Korfmacher

Advisor/Committee Member

Robert Osgood


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at QR201 .F27 2016


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes