Pearson Creek, a tributary of the James River, in Greene County Missouri is on the state’s 303d list of impaired waters due to high concentrations of E. coli bacteria. Pearson Creek consistently exceeds the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) water quality standards for Whole Body Contact Recreation (WBCR) Class-A designation of 126 MPN/100 mL from both urban and rural nonpoint pollution sources (Richards and Johnson 2002, Owen and Pavlowsky 2014, MDNR 2014, MDNR 2018). The City of Springfield and Greene County have been working to identify bacteria sources that will ultimately reduce E. Coli concentrations in the stream. In 2017, Greene County started monitoring bimonthly water quality at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) gaging station at Farm Road (FR) 148. That same year, the City of Springfield provided funding for a wastewater exfiltration study aimed at pinpointing specific bacteria (and other pollutants) source areas along Pearson Creek. Results of these efforts have identified the site at the FR 148 Bridge and State Highway YY as having high and sustained E. Coli concentrations (Owen et al. 2018). However, E. Coli concentrations are only an indicator of fecal contamination, but does not specifically identify the source of the pollution. Therefore, Greene County is contracting the Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute (OEWRI) at Missouri State University to begin to isolate the source by performing a bacteria source tracking study on two hotspots identified along Pearson Creek. The objectives of this study are: (i) collect water samples at four sites, approximately two weeks apart to assess variability (ii) perform sample analysis that includes both IDEXX E. Coli counts and identification of human and bovine markers, and (iii) reporting of results to Greene County.
Owen, Marc R.; Mirza, Babur S.; Roman, Grace F.; Kincaid, John C.; and Pavlowsky, Robert T., "Bacteria Source Tracking to Support Watershed Planning, Pearson Creek, Greene County, Missouri" (2019). OEWRI Technical Reports. 25.