The objective of this project is to monitor and evaluate Escherichia Coli (E.coli) levels in Hamilton County's recreational waterways. The Hamilton County Health Department has mapped approximately 19 locations where the public is most likely to come into contact with surface water. The sampling locations were selected by the Health Department Administrator and Vector Biologist. Sites were selected based on the probability of full body contact and the ability to collect and deliver samples to the Indiana State Department of Health Laboratory in Indianapolis. Water samples are collected during the recreational season, from April through October. Sampling over this period will provide valuable information concerning fluctuations of E. coli levels in recreational waterways.
Since it naturally occurs in the digestive tract of humans and other warm blooded animals, the presence of Escherichia coli in water indicates contamination from raw sewage. Exposure to elevated levels of E.coli can cause illness and infections. According to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Code Title 327, Article 2, Chapter 1, Section 6 (327 IAC 2-1-6), "the concentration of E.coli in a recreational waterway shall not exceed 235 colonies per 100 milliliters of water in any one sample."