Recreational Water Quality

The Challenge

Urban stormwater runoff is a known source of contamination of surface water bodies in the United States. This is especially significant in cities with combined sewer systems which may overflow during rain events and release untreated fecal pollution and human pathogens into local water bodies. As a result, recreational exposure to contaminated water (e.g., swimming, boating, or fishing), is thought to result in between 1.8 and 3.5 million illnesses in the United States alone and may disproportionately impact certain vulnerable groups.

Project Overview

This project is being led by PhD student Shannon McGinnis. The goal of this study is to examine the potential for green stormwater infrastructure to reduce the risk of waterborne disease that may occur due to recreation in CSO-impacted water bodies. She will be accomplish this work by first estimating the number of cases of gastrointestinal illnesses that result from exposure to waterborne pathogens in urban water bodies impacted by CSOs, and second, model the potential for GSI to reduce this disease burden by preventing CSOs.


Check out our interactive map to see detailed water quality results from our study!


Area of Research

Funding By

TBD- Seeking Funding


2016- Present

Team Members

Shannon McGinnis
Keri Klinges
Madison Peschen
Tiffany Burtula
Rosy Chiyezhan

Partners and Collaborators