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Environment

EGLE Staff Sampling Surface Waters To Assess Michigan's Water Quality

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EGLE
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The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is assessing the state’s water quality, something that’s necessary in a state that’s rich in water resources.

EGLE is conducting its annual surface water sampling to protect human health, aquatic life and to maintain recreational ability.

Water sampling is done at different locations across the state. But certain locations are trend sites. This means staff will return consecutive years to understand what long term developments look like.

Kevin Goodwin is an integrated report specialist for water assessment with EGLE. He says they sample for a variety of reasons.

“Things like bacteria levels, E. coli for concerns for human health, to fish contaminants looking at whether or not folks can eat fish safely in the state, to looking at insects and other fish communities to see what the ecosystem looks like and a host of other things.”

Sampling takes place across rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water in the state.

In 2020, the staff sampled:

  • 151 macroinvertebrate sites
  • 73 water chemistry monitoring sites
  • 31 harmful algal bloom monitoring sites
  • 123 E. Coli monitoring sites
  • 48 fish contaminant monitoring sites
  • 287 PFAS surface water sampling sites
  • 7 sediment sampling projects
  • 9 river nutrient expression sampling sites
  • 12 lake nutrient expression sampling sites

Goodwin says the team has a process where they ask for input on where they should go and what issues there might be.
“That’s kind of a targeted approach. We can pick places that we or others have an interest or concern and we can look there, and then we’ve got other programs that we’re just kind of broadly moving around the state just to kind of keep general tabs of what’s going [on].”

Results start becoming available in the fall through the winter. Timing depends on the time it takes to get the results back from different labs entered into various databases, quality checked, and then analyzed.

McKoy's story is brought to you as part of a partnership between WKAR and Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.

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