The disease-producing potential of recreational waters is currently estimated through the use of certain bacterial indicators which are believed to be positively correlated with the presence of human-fecal contamination. In general, these indicators and their recommended limiting values have been adopted for use from existing standard methods for the analysis of sanitary wastewater. However, no bacterial indicator in use today exists solely in the feces of man, and not also elsewhere, e.g., in soils, vegetation, or the feces of insects and/or animals. Stormwater runoff is often rich in bacteria originating from these non-human (and largely non-disease producing) sources and can contain high densities of indicator bacteria. Consequently, for receiving waters containing discharges which originate primarily from separate storm drainage systems (and do not contain sanitary wastewater), these indicators are ill-suited to accurately assess the water's disease-producing capabilities. The paper briefly reviews the development of current bacterial standards and evaluates their adoption in the field of stormwater testing. Until more specific indicators of human pollution can be adopted, further epidemiological studies to determine stormwater's actual health risks are recommended. In conjunction with the bacterial contamination of storm-generated runoff, its unique disinfection requirements are discussed. Disinfection practices are reviewed and their adoption for stormwater and combined sewer overflow (CSO) is addressed.