Student Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-28-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Science



First Advisor

Gregory D. O'Mullan

Second Advisor

Timothy Eaton

Third Advisor

M. Elias Dueker


The presence of Legionella pneumophila was assessed using a cultivation-based approach in New York City waterways, a freshwater portion of the lower Hudson River Estuary near Kingston NY, and in urban and suburban street water. Legionella pneumophila was detected in 51% of brackish New York City Estuary samples, most with concentrations near minimum detection (=>1 organism/ mL). In contrast, it was detected in 22% of suburban freshwater Hudson River Estuary samples. Levels of the bacterium were found to be higher during wet weather compared to dry weather in the highly dense urban setting, but not in the less dense suburban/rural settings. Lastly, Legionella pneumophila was detected in 95% of New York City street water samples and in 88% of suburban street water samples. These results presented a strong initial indication of wet weather contamination from street water discharge into the estuarine environment. This is the first study to document the widespread occurrence of Legionella pneumophila in street water and to establish a clear pattern of increased concentrations of Legionella pneumophila during wet weather in an urban estuarine environment.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.