Maricopa Agricultural Center

A 2,100-acre research farm within The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

As water quality specialists, our team adheres to the fact that all living organisms need water in some capacity. People need water to complete every day activities such as bathing, cooking, and drinking; water is needed in agriculture so food seeds can grow to yeild our produce favorites; and finally, water is needed in the environment to sustain riparian ecosystems.  Unfortunately pathogens and other water quality contaminants can pollute essential water sources such as rivers, lakes, streams, irrigation canals and wastewater treatment plants.  This fact leads to our program goals and the primary reason why water quality is an issue of growing concern around the world.









Program Goals

Food Safety Assess irrigation water for produce production
Assist food safety managers with testing water quality parameters
Surface and Ground Water Protection Investigate water quality of surface and ground water
Water Reuse Study reclaimed water for potable & non-potable reuse
Advice and Recommendations Promote water quality best practices to improve environmental issues


Water Quality Methods of Detection

We primarily use the bacterium Escherichia coli (or E. coli) as an indicator to measure fecal pollution in water sourses. Each source (river, stream, irrigation) is regulated with its own acceptable criteria for allowable number of bacteria. If E. coli is present at high numbers in a single source, this source may be deemed unsafe until treatment occurs, the source is controlled, or a set period of time is allowed to pass before use.  We employ numerous methods of detection in our laboratory including Idexx Colilert, bacterial cultures, and molecular work.

Definition: E.coli –a usually non-pathogenic bacterium that lives in the intestines of all warm-blooded animals



Water Quality Program - Poster, pdf