Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Ingrid Luffman

Committee Members

Arpita Nandi, Andrew Joyner


Karst springs are an essential source of private water supply for about 10% of households in Tennessee. However, these springs, which can be easily polluted, are unregulated. This study, therefore, assesses water quality spatial patterns and water quality rating of roadside springs in northeast Tennessee.

Karst spring water samples collected from 50 springs were assessed using EPA Standard methods for pathogens, nutrients, radon, and physicochemical parameters. Springs generally met federal and state standards for physicochemical parameters, 90% of samples contained E. coli, and all samples contained fecal coliform. High E. coli was spatially clustered causing a fecal contamination hot spot on the border of Washington and Sullivan Counties, Tennessee. 60% of springs exceeded radon concentrations of 300 pCi/L.

Water quality ratings were very poor or unfit for drinking, with 4% of springs ranked “good”. Therefore, microbial pollution purification procedures are advised before using these springs as a drinking water source.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.