Presentation Title

The Relationships between Bacteria Concentration in Connecticut Rivers and Socioeconomic Parameters

Abstract

This research aimed to determine whether there were environmental justice concerns related to the water quality of rivers within Fairfield County, Connecticut. The health of the rivers, quantified by the concentrations of either E. coli or Enterococci bacteria, and the socioeconomic health of the surrounding communities were examined. Socioeconomic parameters, such as percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch, as a proxy for income, age distribution in households, household units, size and ownership, and race were determined for Census block groups, the smallest geographical unit for which the U.S. Census records data. Various statistical analysis methods were run, including multivariate correlations and t-tests, to have a confluence of evidence to assess if there were significant relationships between water quality and socioeconomic factors. This research hopes to inform where in Fairfield County there are concerns with high bacteria concentrations in rivers and if they are in areas of lower socioeconomic status. Such results would suggest environmental justice concerns and recommendations will be made to investigate and mitigate the sources of bacteria pollution.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Kris Stepenuck

Secondary Mentor NetID

japontiu, jcsaraze

Secondary Mentor Name

Jen Pontius, Jillian Sarazen

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources

Program/Major

Environmental Sciences

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

Secondary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

Tertiary Research Category

Social Sciences

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The Relationships between Bacteria Concentration in Connecticut Rivers and Socioeconomic Parameters

This research aimed to determine whether there were environmental justice concerns related to the water quality of rivers within Fairfield County, Connecticut. The health of the rivers, quantified by the concentrations of either E. coli or Enterococci bacteria, and the socioeconomic health of the surrounding communities were examined. Socioeconomic parameters, such as percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch, as a proxy for income, age distribution in households, household units, size and ownership, and race were determined for Census block groups, the smallest geographical unit for which the U.S. Census records data. Various statistical analysis methods were run, including multivariate correlations and t-tests, to have a confluence of evidence to assess if there were significant relationships between water quality and socioeconomic factors. This research hopes to inform where in Fairfield County there are concerns with high bacteria concentrations in rivers and if they are in areas of lower socioeconomic status. Such results would suggest environmental justice concerns and recommendations will be made to investigate and mitigate the sources of bacteria pollution.