The new method measures E coli DNA to determine if water is safe for human contact.
The current testing method involves letting water samples sit up to 24-hours, until bacteria builds up enough to be detected. That approach slows down health officials response to pollution.
Tami Sivy is a chemist and one of the scientists advising health departments on the new testing. She said the method has an added bonus.
“While part of the goal is to have better monitoring methods so we can determine contamination much more quickly, the long term goal is to determine the source of the contamination so we can cut off that source.”
Sivy said Michigan is the first state to institute this method at a state-wide level.
The following health departments will be trained on the new method:
Central Michigan District Health Department
Chippewa County Health Department in Cooperation with the Environmental Analysis Laboratory at Lake Superior State University
District Health Department #10, in cooperation with Cadillac Wastewater Treatment Plant
Genesee County Health Department
Health Department of Northwest Michigan
Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services
Kent County Health Department
Marquette Area Wastewater Treatment Facility
Public Health Muskegon County, in cooperation with the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University
Oakland County Health Division
Saginaw County Department of Public Health