Surface Water Monitoring
The Surface Water Improvement and Monitoring (SWIM) team, formed after a recommendation of the Blue Ribbon Commission Report, was created in the latter part of 1997 with funds committed by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners. One component of its mission is the monitoring of surface water quality throughout the county. This mission is accomplished by systematic sampling of county watersheds.
The surface water monitoring effort has grown to 57 sites where samples are collected at least monthly during the recreational season and tested for Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. The data collected is entered into a database. Information is reviewed closely for trends that might indicate problems requiring further investigation and for reductions in pollution levels that result from corrective efforts.
Surface water quality is monitored for compliance with the Total Body Contact Standard (head immersion) of 300 E. coli colonies per 100 ml of water and the Partial Body Contact Standard (fishing, wading, body immersion) of 1,000 E. coli colonies per 100 ml of water. Regulatory compliance is based on a geometric mean of three or more samples within a defined sampling area.
The surface water testing data should NOT be used to determine if an area is suitable for swimming. Water depth, bottom slope, current, availability of safety equipment, and availability of lifeguards are additional important factors in the determination of a safe swimming location.
To find out how you can help improve our lake, river, and stream water quality click here.
For health and safety recommendations for persons involved in Lake St. Clair or river clean-up click here.
Great Lakes Information Network - Regional watershed information
Environmental Protection Agency - Beach standards and national monitoring