Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


Indicators of contamination from unknown sources have been observed on the Carmel River, California. This contamination was first suspected to be effluent discharge related to nearby homes. In an effort to identify the source and nature of this contamination, general physical and mineral properties, as well as total nitrogen and coliform bacteria were analyzed each month, at five sites in the Mid-Valley section of the Carmel River. Noticeable discharge was observed from a stormdrain pipe near Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course. The stormdrain was only discharging during the months of July and August, and was thus not active during the other sampling months. When compared, the water quality of original sample sites were similar, however a substantial difference in water quality from the stormdrain shows that a contamination exists. The water quality standard for E. coli discharge into a stream is 235 mpn per 100 mL. Analysis of the storm drain found counts from 900 mpn per 100 mL to as high as 120959 mpn per 100 mL. Alkalinity from the storm drain was from 250 to 350 mg/L CaCO3 but the hazard limit is 400 mg/L. Urea from stormdrain was greater than 70 ug/L. Monthly sample collection has removed the possibility of sewage effluent runoff due to the fact that contamination has be narrowed to the golf course stormdrain. Samples were collected during low flow conditions eliminating any seasonal patterns caused by precipitation. High levels of urea, alkalinity, and E. coli from discharge have also produced further questions. While urea and alkalinity are signs of fertilizer use, E. coli was far higher than expected.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Division of Science and Environmental Policy