Date of Award

Fall 12-1994

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Community & Environmental Health


Community Health Education

Committee Director

A. James English

Committee Member

William M. Dunstan

Committee Member

Alpha A. Diallo

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C48B35


Contamination of seafood harvested from and recreational areas of the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries and the Atlantic coast inshore waters may cause health problems for people consuming the seafood or coming in contact with the waters by swimming, water skiing, or other water sports. These health problems include, but not limited to, dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis (Natchez, 1990). This is a preliminary study into the level of fecal pollution generated by sewage discharges from boats in marinas and other places where boats are moored on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Sites selected for the study included; (I) marinas and other places where boats are moored, (2) the mouth of a creek that contains a marina, (3) pristine or near pristine creeks, and (4) an area upstream of a busy harbor beyond navigable waters.

Fecal coliform and fecal streptococci levels were used as indicator organisms of relative pollution levels within the waters of the sampling sites. The fecal coliform/fecal streptococci (FC/FS) ratio was used to indicate of fecal pollution source as human, animal or a combination. Of the 68 valid FC/FS ratios obtained in the nine-month study, only two were attributable to human sources. One of these samples came from a marina and the other clearly had rain induced run-off as the source. Although sewage discharges from boats in marinas and other places where boats are moored can add significant fecal pollution, the majority of fecal pollution appears to be coming from onshore sources. Restrictions on the use of the FC/FS ratio in estuarine waters puts all conclusion made with the use of this ratio in doubt and points to the need for further studies. Other parameters were measured, however, no correlation could be made between their fluctuations and the level of boating activity.


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