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Internet provides easy access to Great Lakes beach closures

It is now easier than ever for people to find out if a Great Lakes beach is safe for swimming. Excluding New York, all of the Great Lakes states have websites dedicated to statewide beach closure information, so people can better avoid possible sickness. “The source of the data comes from all of the local health departments that collect water samples, get them tested, then report results according to public health code,” said Shannon Briggs, toxicologist at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Many of these websites are a result of funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s BEACH act grants. Grants have been given to eligible Great Lakes states since Congress passed the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health act in 2000 to improve beach monitoring and notification programs.

All of the Great Lakes states were given around $220,000 this year in BEACH act grants, according to the agency’s website.

Great Lakes beach ranking disputed

Great Lakes states once again dominated the bottom of a beach health and safety list released by the Natural Resources Defense Council before July 4 weekend.
But some Great Lakes beach and health experts say the council’s report inaccurately reflects monitoring methods and unfairly interprets state data.

State agency sets goal of all Great Lakes beaches open for swimming in 2014

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s mission to guarantee clean and safe recreational water resources includes an assessment plan to make the public aware of problems.
DEQ said it has five related goals: 1) enhance recreational waters, 2) ensure edible fish, 3) protect and restore aquatic ecosystems, 4) ensure safe drinking water and 5) protect public safety.