An evaluation of the available techniques for estimating missing fecal coliform data

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10 Scopus citations


This paper presents the findings of a study aimed at evaluating the available techniques for estimating missing fecal coliform (FC) data on a temporal basis. The techniques investigated include: linear and nonlinear regression analysis and interpolation functions, and the use of artificial neural networks (ANNs). In all, seven interpolation, two regression, and one ANN model structures were investigated. This paper also investigates the validity of a hypothesis that estimating missing FC data by developing different models using different data corresponding to different dynamics associated with different trends in the FC data may result in a better model performance. The FC data (counts/100 ml) derived from the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Kentucky were employed to calibrate and validate various models. The performance of various models was evaluated using a wide variety of standard statistical measures. The results obtained in this study are able to demonstrate that the ANNs can be preferred over the conventional techniques in estimating missing FC data in a watershed. The regression technique was not found suitable in estimating missing FC data on a temporal basis. Further, it has been found that it is possible to achieve a better model performance by first decomposing the whole data set into different categories corresponding to different dynamics and then developing separate models for separate categories rather than developing a single model for the composite data set.

Original languageEnglish
Article number02125
Pages (from-to)1617-1630
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Artificial neural networks
  • Estimating missing data
  • Fecal coliform
  • Interpolation
  • Regression analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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