Forecasting Bacteria Levels at Bathing Beaches in Ohio

Fact Sheet 132-02
By:  and 



The U.S. Geological Survey developed models for predicting exceedance of the bathing-water standard for Escherichia coli (E. coli) at three Lake Erie beaches and one inland lake in Ohio. The statistical models were specific to each beach, and the best model for each beach was based on a unique combination of environmental and water-quality variables as explanatory factors. For the Lake Erie beaches, these factors included wave height, number of birds on the beach at the time of sampling, lake-current direction, rainfall, turbidity, and streamflow of a nearby river. For the inland lake, these factors included date, wind direction and speed, number of birds, and rainfall. The prediction error in the models was too large to accurately estimate concentrations of E. coli; however, the models can be used like weather forecasts to predict the probability, given a set of input variables, that the Ohio bathing-water standard used to judge swimming safety will be exceeded.

Suggested Citation

Francy, D.S., and Darner, R.A., 2002, Forecasting bacteria levels at bathing beaches in Ohio: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2002–132, 4 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Why and How Are Bacterial Levels Currently Monitored at Bathing Beaches?
  • Why was the Study Done?
  • How Was the Study Done?
  • What Were The Study Results?
  • Suggestions for Future Research
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Forecasting bacteria levels at bathing beaches in Ohio
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 132-02
DOI 10.3133/fs13202
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Description 4 p.
Country United States
State Ohio
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Additional publication details