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Municipal Guide To Clean Water: Conducting Sanitary Surveys to Improve Coastal Water Quality

Contamination General term referring to the introduction of undesirable materials (chemical, microorganisms, wastes, etc.).

Correlation Mutual relation; systematically connected.

Criteria Measurable physical, chemical, or biological characteristics commonly used as a basis for setting standards.

Elevated Raised, increased, high.

Enterococci The established bacterial indicator for designated coastal recreational waters in Maine. Indicates fecal con- tamination and the possible presence of pathogens.

Fecal contamination Introduction of fecal matter by contact or association into the environment.

Geometric mean Reduces the influence of outlying (i.e., the very low and very high) numbers on the data set. The data are transformed to the logarithmic values of each datum and then averaged (summed and divided by the number of


Guideline A statement or other indication of policy or procedure by which to determine a course of action; standards.

Illegal Straight Pipe A man-made conduit through which liquid can flow, including pipes actively discharging untreated or partially treated sewage or “black” water, laundry or “gray” water, etc. This does not include road culverts.

Impact To have an effect.

Impervious surface Incapable of being penetrated by moisture. Impervious surfaces are mainly constructed surfaces— rooftops, sidewalks, roads, and parking lots—covered by impenetrable materials such as asphalt, concrete, brick, and stone. These materials seal surfaces, repel water, and prevent precipitation and meltwater from infiltrating soils. These surfaces cause rapid run-off of storm water and contribute to non-point source pollution.

Inactive straight pipe A conduit not in use. Signs of non-use might include: the pipe is visibly disconnected from the ground and is lying on the shore; large amounts of corrosion and rotten spots; no flow or moistness in pipe; no noticeable variation in vegetation directly under the pipe versus vegetation to either side of the pipe; no pieces of tissue in various stage of decomposition. If you are uncertain whether a pipe is active or inactive, please note this on field sheet and give explanation as to why you think it is active or inactive so that this may be followed up.

Indicator organism Indicator bacteria are used to determine water quality conditions. An indicator organism is one used to determine the presence of pathogenic (disease causing) organisms that might be present in the same environment as the indicator. The actual pathogenic organisms are too many, too difficult, and too costly to measure.

Intermittent streams Streams that may only flow at certain times of the year (usually related to spring runoff) or after large rainfall events. Generally, intermittent streams will be narrow and shallow, with varying flow rates.

Malfunctioning subsurface wastewater disposal systems (i.e., septic, cesspool) Are of primary concern due to public health issues. You can usually tell a malfunctioning system by: odor; presence of wetland plant species such as cattails in an otherwise normal vegetation area; seepage from the tank or leach field area; mushy areas above the system; indents in the ground or other signs that the cover or tank might have collapsed.

Marine vessel pump-out station Provides a safe and legal method for disposing of human sanitary waste from vessel marine sanitation devices (i.e., storage tanks).

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