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How Safe Are Michigan Beaches? Real-Time Water Monitoring Coming To Lake St. Clair

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By Edward Cardenas

HARRISON TOWNSHIP (CBSDetroit.com) - A collaborative effort between state and local colleges, governmental agencies and others to monitor Lake St. Clair water quality has been established at Lake St. Clair Metropark.

Officials recently gathered to celebrate the opening of the Huron to Erie Alliance for Research and Training field facilities, which has a goal of attracting researchers to develop a real-time water monitoring.

The current water testing system is nearly 30-years-old and has nearly 24-hour delay before results are released.

“We find out tomorrow that we shouldn’t have been in the lake today. That’s unacceptable,” said State Rep. Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Township, who was able to secure a $100,000 appropriation in the current Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) budget for the project.

“This lab is going to be a beta for hopefully a better way to test,” Forlini added. “So the people out there in lake will know today the water is safe.”

Work at the HEART facility is expected to start July 1, and is a collaborative effort between Wayne State University, Macomb Community College, the Huron-Clinton Metropark Authority and Macomb County.

The work at the facility will impact more than 4 million people who get their drinking water the lake and connecting waterways.

Stephen Lanier, vice president for research at Wayne State University, added the facility “aims to attract scientists, educators and students from national and international institutions to conduct innovative research focusing on urban water systems and the environment.”

To help provide results from the watershed,  real-time beach water monitoring stations will be established at the field station facilities at Lake St. Clair Metropark and Belle Isle. Testing sites may stretch from Lake Huron to Lake Erie.

“Hopefully in the next three years we will know today that the lake is clean today,” added Forlini.

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