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Peter G. Hartel

Dept. of Crop & Soil Sciences, University of Georgia


Issues of Interest:
Bacterial source tracking to identify sources of nonpoint fecal contamination.

Current Projects:
I am currently funded by the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program (through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources) and, separately, by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to conduct research on bacterial source tracking of nonpoint fecal contamination in Georgia, particularly as it relates to Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Plans. With regards to the CZM grant, I have developed a new targeted sampling protocol for bacterial source tracking and have used this new sampling protocol successfully on the Sapelo River. With regards to the Georgia EPD grant, I have developed a simple and inexpensive way to speciate the bacterium Enterococcus faecalis from the fecal enterococci. This bacterium is of interest because its host range is restricted to humans and birds. I am currently trying to determine if high counts of Ent. faecalis under baseflow conditions are almost always indicative of human fecal contamination . This research looks encouraging. Regardless of this research, I have combined targeted sampling with automated ribotyping, a DNA-based method of bacterial source tracking, to identify fecal contamination at a 100% similarity index, a perfect match. This research was done with Ent. faecalis. This bacterium is also noteworthy because it is a member of the fecal enterococci, a group of bacteria being proposed by the EPA as fecal indicator bacteria of choice for marine waters. My lab is the first to use Ent. faecalis for bacterial source tracking, and to obtain a 100% similarity index, a legal standard, for bacterial source tracking.

I work in all Georgia water impaired by fecal contamination. Of particular interest to me on the Georgia Coast are waters on 303(d) list, like the Little Ogeechee and South Newport Rivers.

Project Link:

Ribotyping to Determine the Host Origin of Fecal Contamination in Georgia's Coastal Waters
Peter G. Hartel and William I. Segars (Dept of Crop and Soil Sciences, Univ of Georgia)

Combining Targeted Sampling and Fluorometry to Identify Sources of Human Fecal Contamination in Georgia’s Coastal Waters
Peter G. Hartel (Dept of Crop and Soil Sciences, Univ of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA)


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This page was updated February 4, 2016