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Cheney, WA 99004
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Veronica Albrecht

Veronica Albrecht

Veronica Albrecht is currently a student at Eastern Washington University majoring in biology. She has previously worked in Dr. Joyner-Matos' on how an invasive species of fish (Brook stickleback) was impacting the habitat quality of the ponds at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. Additionally, in Dr. Joyner Matos lab she has assisted on a project looking at how heavy metal pollution in the Idaho chain lakes affects the freshwater invertebrates. Most recently with the aid of her mentor she has been working on a project of her own analyzing how rain events impact fecal coliform levels in a storm drain fed pond. With this project, she has reported her findings at three conferences; the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2017, the West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference (WCBSURC) 2017, and the EWU symposium 2017. She is expected to graduate in spring 2018 and plans to continue focusing on research into pathogenic microorganisms by pursuing a Ph.D. in microbiology. 

McNair Research Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andrea Castillo - Biology

McNair Research Title: Fecal Coliform Levels In Stormwater Fed Cannon Hill Park Pond Significantly Increased Following Rain Events

McNair Research Abstract: Cannon Hill Park Pond (CHPP), Spokane, WA is a residential pond designed by the Olmsted Brothers in the early 1900s and has historically been maintained by the continuous input of potable water (~14 million gallons/year, City of Spokane Water Quality Report Cannon Hill). In 2010, as part of the Lincoln Street Spokane Urban Runoff Greenways Ecosystem project, a vegetated bio-filtration cell (storm garden) was designed to capture and filter storm water and direct its flow to CHPP via a storm drain. This project was meant to mitigate storm water and sanitary sewage overflow during storm events and contribute to CHPP water levels (estimated 315,000 gallons/typical year). While the City of Spokane has conducted some chemical analyses of CHPP, they have yet to conduct any fecal coliform (fc) testing. We were interested in comparing fc levels in CHPP to levels allowed by the Washington State Environmental Protection Agency (WA-EPA) and in determining if fc levels increased with rain events as a result of storm water input from the storm drain. To address our questions, we used a membrane filtration method and cultured filters on mFC agar to identify fc bacteria. We sampled three different pond sites: directly in front of the storm drain, from the potable water spigot, and an offshore point >10m from the storm drain. We sampled CHPP weekly for 11 weeks (8 non-rain events, 3 rain events) and determined that fc levels at the storm drain, but not the offshore site, exceeded WA-EPA levels (10% samples exceed 400 fc/100ml). Additionally, we found that there was a significant increase in fc detected at the storm drain and offshore sites following rain events (p<0.0001 and p<0.0005, respectively). We never detected fecal coliforms in our potable water samples. 

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