Councilman wants Maumee Bay park
in bacteria study
The Toledo Blade
An Oregon city councilman is expected to introduce a resolution
calling for Maumee Bay State Park to be a national pilot
site for an advanced bacteria-testing protocol being developed
by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency laboratory in
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Jim Seaman said yesterday he will introduce the resolution
at Monday’s council meeting because the park deserves
consideration as a focal point.
However, EPA likely will move on to either another Great
Lake or else the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, or
the Gulf of Mexico after it completes its pilot study
that began Saturday at Huntington Beach in Cleveland.
Huntington Beach followed West Beach in Indiana as the
second in which the lab technique is being studied. The
latter beach, part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore,
is along Lake Michigan.
The goal is to narrow the turnaround time for waterborne
bacteria test results to two hours or less. Such results
typically take 18 to 24 hours now, meaning that people
can be unknowingly exposed to bacteria or needlessly kept
away from the water because of the time lag.
"What we’re doing is perfecting the test. The purpose
of these [pilot studies] is to calibrate the tests themselves,"
said Michael Brown, EPA associate assistant administrator
for research and development.
"We need it as bad as anyone else does. We’d like
to be at the top of the list," Mr. Seaman said. "In
this era of instant communication, it seems like [a two-hour
turnaround for bacteria results] is not asking too much."
Mr. Seaman said he hopes Sen. George Voinovich (R., Ohio)
can make a case for bringing the study to Oregon.
Maumee Bay State Park has been hailed by the Ohio Department
of Natural Resources as the "jewel" of the state
park system for years, including much of the time Mr.
Voinovich served as governor.
But the park also has been plagued by bacteria for years.
That contributes to Oregon’s overall difficulties in achieving
its potential as a tourist destination, Mr. Seaman said.
"It’s going to be fully realized when this [bacteria]
issue is resolved," he said. Mr. Seaman is a member
of the council’s parks and recreation committee and finance
But Maumee Bay State Park’s chances of being chosen don’t
look good. "The next beaches will be beaches other
than those along Lake Erie," Mr. Brown said.
The Ohio Department of Health’s Web site yesterday showed
swimming advisory signs posted at Maumee Bay State Park’s
Lake Erie beach since July 24 and at the park’s inland
pond since July 28. But the Web site also said the figures
had not been updated since Friday.
Decisions on posting swimming advisories are based on
an average of the five most recent test results. Samples
are drawn every Monday through Thursday, with at least
a day time lag after each one.