seeks grant for water-testing devicesGene
The Detroit News
TOWNSHIP -- Using sophisticated marine radar and hand-held
water monitoring systems, scientists say they will be able
to instantly test water quality and detect harmful pollution
This space-age technology could be in
place as early as this summer on Lake St. Clair, said Guy
Meadows, a professor in the University of Michigan Department
of Naval Architect and Marine Engineering.
U-M is part of a consortium of four universities
that have been working on the technology. That consortium,
which includes Eastern Michigan, Oakland University and
Wayne State, has applied for a $3-million grant from the
Michigan Coastal Management Program to fund the water monitoring
The hand-held water monitoring project
received a big boost Friday when the U.S. Senate Armed Services
Committee approved $5 million for development of the pollution
detection system. The expenditure still has to be approved
by the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
"This will detect chemical, biological
and polluting agents in drinking water and can be used for
detecting pollutants in Lake St. Clair and the Clinton River,"
said Doug Martz, chairman of the Water Quality Board. The
board has been fighting for five years for a monitoring
system that would rapidly detect pollution in lakes and
"This will mean monitoring results in
minutes instead of 18 hours like it takes now," Martz said.
"This will enable the health department to track down the
sources of the pollution."
Last year, there were 14 beach closings
along Lake St. Clair due to high E. coli bacteria readings.
New Baltimore beach had the most closings with 14, followed
by Memorial Park in St. Clair Shores with three, Blossom
Heath in St. Clair Shores with two, and Metropolitan Beach
in Harrison Township, which was closed once.
Macomb Health Department Director Thomas
Kalkofen said the new technology will work kind of like
a pregnancy test. "You can get readings on specific bacteria
or chemicals in 15 minutes," he said.
The rapid detection system would work
in tandem with two radar units that would be placed in St.
Clair Shores and the Grosse Pointes. The radar will track
currents at 1,000 locations in Lake St. Clair.
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