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BCTC students to assist in bacteria study of local streams

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 5, 2010) Students from the environmental science technology program at Bluegrass Community and Technical College will be part of a volunteer effort to identify bacteria in local streams and assess its risks to people, pets, and farm animals.

The environmental study is a cooperative effort among BCTC, University of Kentuckys Environmental Research and Training Laboratory, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Water Quality and Friends of Wolf Run.

BCTC students and volunteers from Friends of Wolf Run will collect samples from 20 stations in the Wolf Run/Vaughn's Branch watershed on Tuesday, April 6 and Tuesday, April 13.

In addition to sampling for general levels of bacteria in area streams, researchers will be using a new and more advanced method of determining the sources of bacteria based on their genetic profile called polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Our Environmental Science Technology students are trained in water sampling methods. This project gives them a real-world opportunity to apply their skills, said Jean Watts, BCTC environmental science technology program coordinator.

Labs at BCTC and UK will be utilized in analyzing the samples. The data will be made available to the LFUCG Department for Air and Water Quality and the Kentucky Division of Water for their management/research plans as well as to community groups working to restore the watersheds.

Funding for the study is provided by LFUCG Division of Water Quality.

We are fortunate to have these resources, said Friends of Wolf Run volunteer Ken Cooke. These tests cost $200 to $300 each, and having a lab right here in Lexington that can do this work is remarkable. The more we know about the potential sources, the better we will be able to deal with them. Our creeks should be a treasure, not a scourge for our community.