ANN ARBOR (AP) – A University of Michigan researcher says more than one in five Great Lakes beach closing orders based on bacteria concerns may be unnecessary, and he’s testing that idea this summer.
David Rockwell of the university’s School of Natural Resources and Environment is using a $140,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to test the relationship between E. coli test results and actual health risk to swimmers.
The project is a collaboration of Michigan and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.
The university says the new forecasting tool is being extensive tested at five Michigan beaches.
Rockwell says he hopes to reduce unneeded beach closings, which he estimates happen 23 percent of the time.
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