Hopkinsville Surface & Stormwater Utility




Little River Water Quality Consortium

Who is LRWQC?


The Little River Water Quality Consortium (LRWQC) includes representatives from agriculture, industry, the Surface and Stormwater Utility, Hopkinsville Water Environment Authority, Christian County Health Department, Christian County Fiscal Court, and the Hopkinsville City Council. It was established in 2011 to oversee and direct water quality testing and improvements within the Little River Watershed due to concerns about the water quality.

What is the problem?


The Kentucky Division of Water has listed South Fork Little River as unsafe for swimming (primary contact recreation) due to pathogens. It also does not provide aquatic habitat that promotes a healthy population of organisms that live in water due to nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), sediment, and other causes.

What has being done?


In 2012-2014, the LRWQC hired the USGS to study sources of nutrients, pathogens, and sediment in the Upper Little River Basin. The study utilized advanced scientific techniques to determine the relative pollutant contributions of different sources. The key findings are as follows:

Nitrogen: Using isotopes of nitrogen and oxygen, they found that during higher stream flows nitrogen in soils were the most dominant source and in lower stream flows manure and septic waste sources were dominant.
Sediment: The study utilized a sediment-fingerprinting technique that correlated sediment collected from streams to soils collected from pastures, riparian areas, cropland, and stream banks. They found that stream bank erosion contributes the largest proportion of fine sediment to streams in the South Fork Little River followed by cropland and riparian-zone areas, respectively.

Pathogens: Genetic markers in the DNA of bacteria that live in humans, ruminants (including cows and horses), dogs, and waterfowl were used to determine the source of pathogens in streams. Ruminant sources were most prominent in South Fork Little River but human and dog sources were also contributors.
Now a grant has been obtained from the Kentucky Department of Water (KDOW) and the EPA to develop a watershed based plan. Click the link to see the South Fork Little River Watershed Area.

How can you help?


We need community feedback on what you think a healthy watershed looks like. We want insight into water quality concerns of property owners and stakeholders who live in the area.

We are seeking to educate the community on how their activities may be affecting the water quality in local streams.

We are looking to work with stakeholders to find the best approaches to improve the water quality

We are seeking partners who are willing to receive assistance in implementing projects that will help improve the water quality or who may be willing volunteer to assist others.

Public Surveys


  • Watershed Values and Vision Community Survey
    The goal of the watershed values and vision survey is to better understand how different members of the community - residents, farmers, business owner's, or just concerned citizens, view different environmental concerns for the Little River Watershed.
  • Participation Interest Survey
    The participation interest survey provides a method to ensure that potential opportunities and contacts can be made for meetings and educational opportunities are captured.