Form found in stormwater:

E. coli, fecal coliform, Giardia, Cryptosporidium

Adverse human impacts:

Cryptosporidium and Giardia cause gastrointestinal illness in humans.[i] The presence of fecal coliforms and E. coli strands indicate that water may be contaminated with other pathogens that can cause symptoms including headaches, gastrointestinal illness.  Young children and people with compromised immune systems may be particularly at risk from these microbes. E. coli 0157:H7 can cause more serious effects including kidney failure.[ii]

Adverse impacts on the environment:

Certain species of fish and wildlife are unaffected by the microbes commonly found in stormwater while other species experience symptoms similar to humans.

Stormwater Treatment to Remove Pathogens


A large variety of microbes are found in stormwater, however, the disease causing microbes (pathogens) are the primary concern. Pathogens can enter stormwater through combined sanitary/stormwater sewer overflows and the improper disposal of pet waste[iii]
Soil contaminated with solid waste is also a source of pathogens in stormwater.[iv]
 E. coli and fecal coliform are bacteria that are used in water quality analysis as indicator species. Fecal coliform and most forms of E. coli are harmless, but their presence indicates possible fecal material contamination and the presence of other harmful microbes.[v] Two common pathogens found in stormwater are Giardia and Cryptosporidium[vi]. These parasites are the cause of two of the most common waterborne diseases in the U.S. Both can persist in the environment for months and are highly resistant to disinfection. [vi][vii][viii]

U.S. EPA recommended water quality criteria:




[i] U.S. EPA, List of Contaminates & Their MCLs, (last visited Aug. 11, 2010).

[ii] U.S. Geological Survey, Chattahoochee Riverway BacteriALERT – Q&A, (last visited Aug. 11. 2010).

[iii] Jane Clary, et al. Can stormwater BMPs remove bacteria? 9 Stormwater 3 (2008).

[iv] J. Santamaria & G.A. Toranzos, Enteric pathogens and soil: a short review 6 Int’l Microbiology 5 – 9 (2003)..

[v] Center for Disease Control & Prevention, Escherichia coli 0157:H7: General Information, (last visited Aug. 9, 2010).

[vi] Russell Arnone, et al., Investigation of Cryptosporidium and Giardia Concentrations in Combined Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Runoff, 173 ASCE Conf. Proc.,133 (2005).

[vii] Food Safety Watch, Cryptosporidium, (last visited Aug. 9, 2010).

[viii] Center for Disease Control & Prevention, Fact Sheet: Giardiasis, (last visited Aug. 9, 2010).

Learn About Aquip
The StormwateRx Aquip® industrial filtration system uses an innovative enhanced sand filtration process to effectively remove soluble and insoluble aluminum and other metals as well as oils, suspended solids, organics and nutrients from industrial stormwater runoff.

Learn About Purus
The Purus™ Stormwater Polishing System (previously known as the AquiPlus) provides the most advanced level of stormwater treatment, and is designed for challenging stormwater conditions or targeted pollutant removal.

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