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Great Lakes Article:

Something in the Water
WTGV Toldeo (OH)
Posted on August 4, 2005

Lake Erie beaches are posted for bacteria outbreaks but it probably won't hurt you.

The steamy weather sent plenty of families to the lakes for relief today. But those who visited Maumee Bay state park were in for a not-so-pleasant surprise. With the sun bearing down, nothing looks better than the cool water. But the danger sign at Maumee Bay state park is bringing lots of would-be swimmers to a stop.

There's something in the water - and it could make you sick. The Torres family just learned the water of this inland lake is full of e. Coli bacteria. Regular park visitors know these signs are put up almost every year. And the good news is: taking a dip isn't deadly. E. Coli expert Dr. Daryl Dwyer says, "The e. Coli by themselves are not necessarily bad but there are probably other things with them that could be harmful for human health."

Dr. Dwyer is a professor at the University of Toledo. He took us through the labs where research is underway on the water contamination. He says the chance of getting sick is slim, but possible. "A lot of these bacteria will die in sunlight. It's lethal for them. They'll just die over time." Dr. Dwyer says the e. Coli bacteria can enter your body through the mouth, nose or open wounds.

Right now, researchers are conducting molecular tests to find out whether the feces came from animals or humans. The EPA reported monitoring 47 Great Lakes beaches in Ohio last year. About 80 percent are checked on up to four times a week, including Crane Creek and Maumee Bay state park's Erie Beach. Seven beaches in Ottawa County are checked at least twice a week, including South Bass Island state park and Catawba Island state park.


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