This preliminary research strives to determine if a non-point source of contamination is contaminating a stream in Berea, Kentucky. The cattle feedlot is discharging runoff into the Silver Creek Watershed. I analyzed samples from Bogie Creek, John Ballard stream, and Silver Creek in order to determine the amount of phosphorus, nitrates, ammonia, and E. coli colony forming units present at each sample site. Precipitation and its effect on the samples was also considered. Bogie Creek and the other sample sites all exceeded EPA’s recreational Maximum Contaminant Levels in Phosphorus, Total Nitrogen, and E. coli colonies. Nitrate, ammonia, and precipitation were all significantly associated with logCFUs with an R squared value of 95.47%. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was also performed in order to determine the presence of Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE). According to PCR, universal bacteria was present but not VRE. PCR was not conducted on bovine specific mitochondrial DNA or enterococci. The research stresses the need for a more in depth study of the Silver Creek watershed and concrete remediation measures be taken.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-10-2014


Sheila D. Pressley

Mentor Department Affiliation

Environmental Health Science

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Environmental Health Science