Geographic setting influences Great Lakes beach microbiological water quality

Environmental Science & Technology
By: , and 



Understanding of factors that influence Escherichia coli (EC) and enterococci (ENT) concentrations, pathogen occurrence, and microbial sources at Great Lakes beaches comes largely from individual beach studies. Using 12 representative beaches, we tested enrichment cultures from 273 beach water and 22 tributary samples for EC, ENT, and genes indicating the bacterial pathogens Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), Shigella spp., Salmonella spp, Campylobacter jejuni/coli, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and 108–145 samples for Bacteroides human, ruminant, and gull source-marker genes. EC/ENT temporal patterns, general Bacteroides concentration, and pathogen types and occurrence were regionally consistent (up to 40 km), but beach catchment variables (drains/creeks, impervious surface, urban land cover) influenced exceedances of EC/ENT standards and detections of Salmonella and STEC. Pathogen detections were more numerous when the EC/ENT Beach Action Value (but not when the Geometric Mean and Statistical Threshold Value) was exceeded. EC, ENT, and pathogens were not necessarily influenced by the same variables. Multiple Bacteroides sources, varying by date, occurred at every beach. Study of multiple beaches in different geographic settings provided new insights on the contrasting influences of regional and local variables, and a broader-scale perspective, on significance of EC/ENT exceedances, bacterial sources, and pathogen occurrence.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Geographic setting influences Great Lakes beach microbiological water quality
Series title Environmental Science & Technology
DOI 10.1021/es402299a
Volume 47
Issue 21
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher American Chemical Society
Contributing office(s) Michigan Water Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 12054
Last page 12063
Country United States
Other Geospatial Great Lakes
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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