Honors Projects

Abstract

Lake Erie has experienced harmful algal blooms with increased frequency since the mid-1990s due to excess nutrients from Rivers, such as the Maumee River, and largely agricultural watersheds. Nonpoint source pollution from agriculture contributes to eutrophication, algal blooms, and the degradation of water quality. This creates stress on aquatic fauna, reduced aesthetic quality, odor, and limits of the water for usage of drinking, recreation, and industry. This research paper asks what the contributions of having access to manure application records, soil records, and information about antibiotics have on what is known about manure management and antibiotic resistance, which has been attributed to the degradation of water quality in the western basin of Lake Erie and in Northwestern Ohio. Surface and subsurface water samples were collected from farms in Putnam County, Ohio, which is largely agricultural, and analyzed for nutrient concentrations, E. coli, coliforms, lactose positive coliforms, and antibiotic (ampicillin) resistance. Buildup of phosphates in the soils contributed to the high concentrations in runoff samples, and high ammonia concentrations were analyzed because manure was detected in the runoff. The results support the findings of others that conclude that most nutrient and pathogen pollution occurs after large rainstorm events and after manure application on frozen ground. The bacterial community showed a moderate-high level of resistance to ampicillin, which is of great concern. The results of this study call for sustainable manure management, a system to minimize nutrient-loading and the spreading of pathogenic bacteria, education, and the usage of Best Management Practices.

Major

Environmental Science

First Advisor

Dr. W. Robert Midden

First Advisor Department

Chemistry

Second Advisor

Dr. George Bullerjahn

Second Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Publication Date

Spring 2014