Fate of Nutrients and Pathogens from On-Site Disposal Systems to Ground Water and Application of Different Models Used as Screening Tools to Detect Hazardous Parameters

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Health Science, General Research


Community and Environmental Health

Major Advisor

Robert C. Rychert


James T. Girvan


James T. Taylor


Boise, Idaho is experiencing population growth and developmental expansion. A significant portion of the residential growth is occurring in areas utilizing both individual on-site waste disposal systems and drilled wells. Central District Health Department and the Department of Environmental Quality are taking the responsibility of the new developmental planning as it impacts the environment. Current regulations do not consider the cumulative effect of on-site waste disposal methods on groundwater quality. Central District Health Department lacks screening tools to detect potential hazardous impact of nutrients and pathogens on groundwater quality criteria. This study has been conducted to search for information on the fate of nutrients and pathogens through different soils. It also emphasizes the impact of groundwater contamination on the population health and well being. Comparison of two models that can be used as screening tools to detect the potential hazards of a site to impact groundwater quality is also emphasized. A pilot study has been conducted to assess the risk of these hazards and their impact on humans, damage to the environment, structure, or economic assets. A survey questionnaire has been sent to collect information from experts of the same background from different District Health Departments. The study also included a condensed literature review of recent articles of the fate of the nutrient and pathogen through different layers of soil and the factors influencing their transportation. Searching for applicable models for initial screening of a site to install an on-site waste disposal system was key task for the project. Communication with other District Health Departments to discuss the different points of view was also essential. A workshop that brought together in common forum experts from other districts was conducted in the annual environmental conference conducted in February 1999 in Boise, Idaho. Recommendations summary of applicable solutions to reduce groundwater contamination in Boise is suggested as a conclusion of this study

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