Artificial structures installed in rivers can change the natural physical, physiochemical, and biological characteristics of the rivers. Coliform bacteria are important water quality indicators, related to human health. This study investigated the relationship between coliform bacteria and water quality factors at eight weir stations constructed in the Nakdong River, a major river in South Korea. Fifteen water quality factors were analyzed at these sites from 2012 to 2016 using correlation and multiple regression analyses. The results for all stations confirmed the analytical validity, with high adjusted R2
values of approximately 0.6 and 0.8 on average for total and fecal coliforms, respectively. The results showed influential water quality factors affecting the concentration of coliform bacteria at weir stations. Specifically, total coliforms were mostly affected by organic matter and fecal coliforms were mostly affected by phosphate phosphorus and suspended solids. Rainfall was the most influential factor affecting both coliforms. Further, both coliforms were negatively affected by organic matter below the Dalseong weir in the mid- to downstream area of the Nakdong River. A positive relationship with phosphate phosphorus was indicated at all weir stations. To the authors’ knowledge, this kind of study has never been attempted so far. Thus, the study results can provide important information on influential water quality factors related to coliform bacteria, especially in the Nakdong River, creating a foundation for future water quality management.
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