Water Quality Assessment of the Santa Cruz River in Southern Arizona
AuthorMcOmber, Todd Christian
Soil, Water & Environmental Science
AdvisorRock, Channah M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractUtilization of areas adjacent to rivers for agricultural and industrial purposes can have detrimental effects on water quality and can potentially impact human and ecosystem health downstream. In this study we tested water quality along a stretch of the effluent-dependent Santa Cruz River near Nogales, AZ. This stretch of river has historically been impaired, but prior to upgrades to the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant (NIWTP) in 2009. Our work endeavored to assess water quality according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) standards, and identify sources of pollution entering the river system. Heavy metals were analyzed via ICP. Three IDEXX quantification systems were used to detect E. coli, Enterococcus, and P. aeruginosa as fecal indicators or potential threats to public health. Potential fecal sources were analyzed using quantitative PCR targeting Bacteroides DNA markers for total, human, and bovine feces (Allbac, HF183, and CowM2, respectively). The NIWTP effectively removed chemical and biological contaminants. The lowest E. coli counts occurred at the site located at the NIWTP outfall (mean = 5 MPN/100ml) while the highest counts (mean = 348 MPN/100 ml) came from Nogales Wash, a tributary receiving untreated flow from Nogales, Mexico. The Allbac marker was detected in all samples, while approximately 97% of samples tested positive for HF183 and 33% tested positive for the CowM2 marker. Continued monitoring of effluent effects on river quality and evaluation of water quality degradation will lead to improvements in the management of Arizona's riparian areas and will ultimately contribute to healthy water bodies.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Soil, Water and Environmental Science