Microbial Pollution of Well Water in Southeastern Minnesota

Daniel Amundson, Cynthia Lindholm, Sagar M. Goyal, Robert A. Robinson

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7 Scopus citations


Groundwater contamination is a growing problem in southeastern Minnesota. This region is characterized by karst topography which is responsible for the formation of sinkholes, subsurface cracks, and underground rivers. These features enhance transportation of surface contaminants into groundwater. The present study was conducted to determine the presence of coliforms, fecal coliforms and coliphages in private rural wells situated in this region. Another purpose was to study the occurrence of drug resistance in bacteria isolated from groundwater. Well water from 18 sites was tested monthly for a period of 16 months. Seventeen of 18 sites sampled showed detectable levels of indicator bacteria. A total of 161 samples were tested for the presence of coliphages. Of these, 13 samples from 7 sites were found positive. On two occasions, coliphages were isolated from samples in which coliforms were undetectable. Water from 10 sites yielded drug resistant indicator bacteria. Twenty-five of 38 (65.8%) total coliforms and 9 of 27 (33.3%) fecal coliforms tested were found to carry drug resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-468
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health. Part A: Environmental Science and Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 7 1988

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by the United States Department of the Interior, Geological Survey, through the Minnesota Water Resources Research Center. Thanks are due to Laurene Rehnblom for typing the manuscript.


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