Physics, Geosciences, and Astronomy

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Wilgreen Lake (Madison County, Kentucky) is listed as ‘‘nutrient impaired’’ by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Commonwealth of Kentucky, and it also experiences high fecal microbe counts that restricts its use. The lake is a typical eutrophic lake, experiencing anoxia and dysoxia in its waters during summer stratification. Human activities in the watershed contribute additional nutrients to the lake that may exacerbate periods of anoxia, so knowing the sources of anthropogenic nutrient inputs to the lake would aid in developing best practices for development of lake shore areas and the watershed. Possible sources include residential fertilizers, cattle waste, and human sewage. High nutrient concentrations within surface waters generally occur only proximal to septic system clusters in the upper reaches of Taylor Fork. Bovine and human fecal microbes enter the lake causing periodic high fecal microbe counts, and are likewise restricted to shallow water areas especially after rain events. The areal distribution of high nutrient and fecal microbe values implicate septic systems as the most likely source of these pollutants, but runoff from pastureland must also contribute nutrients and fecal material. We plan to use additional tracing methods in the future to determine the main sources of nutrients and fecal microbes.

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Journal of the Kentucky Academy Sciences