The presence and near-shore transport of human fecal pollution in Lake Michigan beaches

By: , and 



The Great Lakes are a source of water for municipal, agricultural and industrial use, and support significant recreation, commercial and sport fishing industries. Every year millions of people visit the 500 plus recreational beaches in the Great Lakes. An increasing public health risk has been suggested with increased evidence of fecal contamination at the shoreline. To investigate the transport and fate of fecal pollution at Great Lakes beaches and the health risk associated with swimming at these beaches, the near-shore waters of Mt Baldy Beach, Lake Michigan and Trail Creek, a tributary discharging into the lake were examined for fecal pollution indicators. A model of surf zone hydrodynamics coupled with a transport model with first-order inactivation of pollutant was used to understand the relative importance of different processes operating in the surf zone (e.g. physical versus biological processes). The Enterococcus human fecal pollution marker, which targets a putative virulence factor, the enterococcal surface protein (esp) in Enterococcus faecium, was detected in 2/28 samples (7%) from the tributaries draining into Lake Michigan and in 6/30 samples (20%) from Lake Michigan beaches. Preliminary analysis suggests that the majority of fecal indicator bactateria variation and water quality changes at the beaches can be explained by inputs from the influential stream and hydrometeorological conditions. Using modeling methods to predict impaired water quality may help reduce potential health threats to recreational visitors.
Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title The presence and near-shore transport of human fecal pollution in Lake Michigan beaches
ISBN 0933957343; 9780933957343
DOI 10.1109/OCEANS.2005.1639995
Volume 2005
Year Published 2005
Language English
Larger Work Title Proceedings of MTS/IEEE OCEANS, 2005
Conference Title MTS/IEEE OCEANS, 2005
Conference Location Washington, DC
Conference Date 18 September 2005 through 23 September 2005
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