Michigan First to Use New, Faster Beach-Testing Method

For Friday, June 26, 2015

1 – Michigan will become the first state to monitor beaches using a new, rapid testing method.

beach bay city state park recreation area
The beach at the Bay City State Recreation Area, June 8, 2015. Credit: Jeff Kart

The new method quickly identifies E. coli DNA in a beach’s water sample.

The process provides results the same day a sample is taken. That means necessary beach closures will occur more efficiently in locations where bacteria is detected.

Previous testing methods took longer, meaning beaches that tested positive could not be closed until the day after a water sample was drawn.

To implement the new water testing process, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality awarded a half-million dollars to health departments in the state.

Agencies involved with the new testing method include health departments in Bay and Saginaw counties, and Saginaw Valley State University.

Daily beach testing results are be posted on the DEQ’s BeachGuard website.

2 – Information on the environment and other topics is available from a new GIS Open Database.

The site is a part overall efforts to make more information open and available to citizens, according to the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, provide location components to information, allowing data to be represented geographically.

The new site can be used to browse, search, preview and download a variety of geospatial data sets and view them on a map.

Data categories include Fish & Wildlife, Environment and Public Health.

The Environment section includes data on land cover, wetlands and potential wetland restoration sites.

The site can be accessed at www.michigan.gov/openmichigan.


– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

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