Stormwater runoff samples were collected from outfalls draining small municipal separate storm sewer systems. The samples were collected from three different land use areas based on local designation (high-density residential, low-density residential and landscaped commercial). The concentrations of microorganisms in the stormwater runoff were found to be similar in magnitude to, but less variable than, those reported in the stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) database. Microorganism concentrations from high-density residential areas were higher than those associated with low-density residential and landscaped commercial areas. Since the outfalls were free of sanitary wastewater cross-connections, the major sources of microorganisms to the stormwater runoff were most likely from the feces of domestic animals and wildlife. Concentrations of microorganisms were significantly affected by the season during which the samples were collected. The lowest concentrations were observed during winter except for Staphylococcus aureus. The Pearson correlation coefficients among different indicators showed weak linear relationships and the relationships were statistically significant. However, the relationships between indicators and pathogens were poorly correlated and were not statistically significant, suggesting the use of indicators as evidence of the presence of pathogens is not appropriate. Further, the correlation between the concentration of the traditionally monitored indicators (total coliforms and fecal coliforms) and the suggested substitutes (enterococci and E. coli) is weak, but statistically significant, suggesting that historical time series will be only a qualitative indicator of impaired waters under the revised criteria for recreational water quality by the US EPA.

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