Environmental Management

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 353–359

Bacterial water quality: Springs and streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • David G. Silsbee
  • Gary L. Larson

DOI: 10.1007/BF01875067

Cite this article as:
Silsbee, D.G. & Larson, G.L. Environmental Management (1982) 6: 353. doi:10.1007/BF01875067


Water samples from streams and springs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were analyzed for fecal coliform, fecal streptococcus, and total coliform bacteria. Levels of bacteria were found to be highly variable but related to elevation, time of year, type of water source, and water level of the streams. Visitors did not seem to be major contributors to bacterial contamination. Levels of fecal coliform and total coliform in most water samples were unsuitable for drinking without treatment. Tennessee state standards for body contact recreation (swimming and wading) were exceeded in a few samples but none from streams suitable for swimming. As a result of these findings, park managers increased efforts to inform visitors of the need to treat drinking water and removed improvements at backcountry springs which tended to give the springs the image of safe, maintained water sources.

Key words

Great Smoky Mountains National Park National Park Service Water quality Resources management Bacteria Indicator organisms 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • David G. Silsbee
    • 1
  • Gary L. Larson
    • 1
  1. 1.Uplands Field Research LaboratoryGreat Smoky Mountains National ParkGatlinburg

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