Effect of vegetated filter strips on transport and deposition rates of Escherichia coli in overland flow in the eastern escarpments of the Mau Forest, Njoro River Watershed, Kenya
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The fate and transport of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in lotic waters through vegetated filter strips (VFSs) was evaluated in a field model pasture, utilizing VFSMOD Windows along with direct pathogen testing. This study assessed effects of VFS on transport and deposition rates of E. coli in lotic overland flow waters. The VFS measured 44 m long by 40 m wide, covering an area of 1584 m2 and land slope of 15 %. Cowpat was applied onto the model pasture and washed by overland flow into the VFS. The 4-methylumbelliferyl β-D-glucuronide substrate confirmed the identity of E. coli prior to cowpat application and after isolating them from soil using centrifugation and membrane filtration techniques. Napier grass root system recorded the highest recovery rates of E. coli at 99.9 % along the length of VFS III. This efficiency reduced significantly (p < 0.05; df = 29) to 95 % in Kikuyu grass and 75 % in Couch grass-Buffer grass. The data demonstrated similarity in transport of manure-borne E. coli and organic carbon (OC) through all the simulated VFS. These results indicated that OC could be used as a true natural tracer of manure-borne E. coli, a pollution indicator organism of lentic and lotic surface waters provided the OC release kinetics from cowpat were similar to that of E. coli kinetics. Thus, efficient filtering to reduce E. coli concentrations and load in overland flows requires managing combined grass species, agro-pastoral systems models and dispersed or preferential flows to enhance surface water quality standards.
Olilo, C.O., Onyando, J.O., Moturi, W.N. et al. Effect of vegetated filter strips on transport and deposition rates of Escherichia coli in overland flow in the eastern escarpments of the Mau Forest, Njoro River Watershed, Kenya. Energ. Ecol. Environ. 1, 157–182 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40974-016-0006-y