Forecast helps E. Coli swimming forecasts

By  | 

Parents, before your kids get In the water on this Memorial Day, you want to make sure they're safe.

The best place to do that is the recommendation placard local beaches. Those tell you about contaminants. E. Coli and microcystin are nothing new in the water, but there's a newer test that can tell you what you'll see.

"We've been more accurate than the traditional methods," Pam Struffolino said. She's a research operations manager at the University of Toledo.
Eight Ohio beaches use a forecast tool combined with the standard E. Coli test.

"So we're out here every day to test the beach water for E. Coli," Ryan Jackwood said. He's a PhD candidate at UT.

That gives you an idea what you'll see - now without a 24 hour delay.

"So that we can inform the public immediately if they can get in the water," Jackwood said.

They also look for sediment levels and microcystin.

"It's very dependent on the day and the weather," Jackwood said.

"Rainfall, wind direction, sunlight," Struffolino said.

"It's sunshine, because bacteria are actually killed by sunshine," Daryl Dwyer said. He's an associate professor at the University of Toledo.

Southwest winds push harmful bacteria off shore. Wolf Creek is the main source of the Maumee Bay beach bacteria.

"Throughout the years, we've seen reductions in the amount of beach postings that are caused by E. Coli," Jackwood said.

"We're getting maybe 50-80% reductions of the bacteria that are coming through that watershed," Dr. Dwyer said.

The results are also found at Ohio Nowcast and the Ohio Beach Guard websites.

"And that will tell you whether or not the beach is actually good for swimming on that day," Dr. Dwyer said.

Keep in mind there are two beaches at Maumee Bay State Park. The main one is on Lake Erie and has its own placards. But the tests are not always the same for the second Inland Lake beach.