Beach Mysteries - cgll.org · Beach Mysteries G47. Great Lakes in My World ©Alliance for the Great Lakes, 2005. Beach Mysteries COSEE Greatest of the Great Lakes—A Medley of Model - [PDF Document] (2024)

Beach Mysteries - cgll.org· Beach Mysteries G47. Great Lakes in My World ©Alliance for the Great Lakes, 2005. Beach Mysteries COSEE Greatest of the Great Lakes—A Medley of Model - [PDF Document] (1)

IssuesCOSEE Greatest of the Great Lakes—A Medley of Model Lessons

Great Lakes in My World©Alliance for the Great Lakes, 2005.

4-8 90 minutes

summary

Students learn about bacteria as an indicator of beach water quality for swimming. In groups they solve hypothetical problems associated with beaches. Then students write persuasive essays on the issue.

subjects

Environmental Science, Human Health, Social Studies, Language Arts

standards

Science: 12.B.2a, 13.B.2a, 13.B.2fSocial Studies: 17.B.3b, 17.C.2c

Language Arts: 3.C.2a, 3.C.3a

Science: 6.3.8, 7.4.14, 8.3.6Language Arts: 4.5.6, 5.5.4, 6.5.5, 7.5.4, 8.5.4

Science: SCI.III.5.E.4, SCI.III.5.MS.6Social Studies: SOC.II.4.LE.5

Language Arts: ELA.2.MS.1

Language Arts: B.8.1, C.4.2, C.8.1

objectives

• Discuss the effect of harmful bacteria on swimming conditions at beaches.• Diagram three reasons for beach contamination.• Explain solutions for beach health problems.• Write a persuasive essay about beach health.

prerequisite

Garbage Investigation, Litter Tag

vocabulary

Bacteria: single-celled organisms, free-living or parasitic, that break down the wastes and bodies of dead organisms, making their components available for reuse by other organisms

Sewage overflow: sewage that is discharged into waterwaysStormwater: water that accumulates on the ground during a rain event

setting

Classroom or beach

materials

• Prescription for Healthy Beaches (on CD)• Journals• Pencils• Clipboards (if outside)

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Beach Mysteries

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Great Lakes in My World©Alliance for the Great Lakes, 2005.

Beach MysteriesCOSEE Greatest of the Great Lakes—A Medley of Model Lessons

Beaches can bring great advantages to shoreline communities, providing recreation, gathering places and beauty. It is important to keep them clean and healthy. Although this activity is about beach closings, emphasize to students that the Great Lakes beaches can be wonderful places for swimming and recreation. However, based on the rise of beach closings due to bacteria issues, it is important that communities become informed about beach closings. The information in this activity should not stop students and their families from enjoying Great Lakes beaches when they are open and healthy. On the contrary, this information should enable students and their families to better understand how to appreciate their beaches and keep them healthy so they can be enjoyed.

Beach Closings: Local health departments are forced to close beaches or declare “swimming bans” when bacteria levels are high. As monitoring programs start in communities, beach closings happen with increasing frequency.

Closures are prompted because of the health risks posed by the bacteria which comes from sewage overflows, untreated stormwater runoff, animal waste, boating wastes and malfunctioning septic systems. Sewage treatment plants in some large cities were not originally built for the increased number of people that now live there. Each day a beach is closed, according to a 2004 study, The Economic Costs of E. coli Beach Closings, communities can lose thousands of dollars in revenue. In 2003 for example, Lake Michigan beaches that were monitored for bacterial pollution experienced 1473 closings due to high bacteria counts.

Recreational water quality monitoring: Beaches are run by governmental agencies that try to keep the shoreline safe for human use. In many cases these agencies monitor the water quality by testing bacteria levels. When levels are too high, areas that have monitoring programs will close the beaches.

Health Issues: When a beach is closed, everyone who uses nearshore areas for recreation – including divers and swimmers – is at risk when bacteria are present. Bacteria and other germs in contaminated sand and water can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomachaches, nausea, headaches, fever, giardiasis, rashes, and pink eye.

E. coli: E. coli is the bacteria used to determine if a beach should be closed. It is found in human and animal feces. E. coli is a common bacteria used for science experiments in thousands of schools and laboratories around the world. You have it living inside your intestines right now, as does every other human, and many other organisms. E. coli has hundreds of genetic variants; only a very few of these can make humans sick. The E. coli agencies search for in beach testing is not necessarily what makes humans sick, but it indicates the presence of fecal contamination (and possibly other pathogens that ArE harmful).

There is only one particular strain of E. coli harmful to human health, and it is relatively uncommon. However, E. coli is easy to test for and is an indicator of other potentially harmful bacteria that can exist under the same conditions. When E. coli is found in high levels, beaches are closed because bacteria harmful to human health may be present.

procedure1. Ask for a show of hands to find out how many students in

your group swim regularly at a Great Lakes beach. Discuss as a class: Can beaches be dirty if there is no garbage to be seen? How? Take a few responses.

2. Are beaches in your area ever closed or do they have swimming bans? This depends on whether or not your area has a recreational water quality monitoring program. Beaches in some areas are closed when bacteria levels exceed Environmental Protection Agency standards.

3. Why does this happen? Create a list of ideas to assess students’ prior knowledge about why beaches close.

Note: If beaches are not monitored or closed in your area due to high bacteria levels, let students know that this happens in other areas of the Great Lakes.

4. use the background information to explain bacteria in general and E. coli in particular, and the health issues they present.

5. Have students work in small groups to solve beach mysteries on journal pages. Students may use the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Prescription for a Healthy Beaches:

http://www.greatlakes.org/beach_center/prescription.pdf.

Answers to Beach Mysteries#1. How did the bacteria get there? After the gulls have

eaten, they may leave droppings behind on the beach. E. coli bacteria is found in human and animal waste.

How can we help solve this problem? Don’t leave litter behind. Any litter can cause harm. Food-related litter can attract wildlife in greater numbers than might normally live at or near the beach. Wildlife waste may contribute to high bacteria levels at the beach.

#2. How did the bacteria get there? When a lot of precipitation (rain or snow) falls, the water treatment plant may not be able to process and clean all the water as quickly as it accumulates. If this happens, water treatment plants may release untreated sewage into the lake. E. coli may be found in the untreated sewage. This can cause elevated bacteria levels. As for the phone call, beach managers are often notified of sewage overflows.

How can we help solve this problem? Encourage your local municipality to make sure your water treatment facility is big enough to handle all of the water from your community. Do not contribute extra water to the system during a heavy rain. This may mean waiting to run your dishwasher or do your laundry.

background

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Beach MysteriesCOSEE Greatest of the Great Lakes—A Medley of Model Lessons

Great Lakes in My World©Alliance for the Great Lakes, 2005.

#3. How did the bacteria get there? Dog waste may be contributing to E. coli or other bacteria in the water if the dog owners do not responsibly pick up after their pets.

How can we help solve this problem? Always pick up after your pet. Encourage other animal owners to do the same.

#4. How did the bacteria get there? When rain reaches the ground during a rain event, it is called stormwater. As it accumulates, stormwater flows to the lowest point. In a Great Lakes community, this is often the lake. Stormwater carries bacteria and other pollutants from a variety of sources including animal waste from domestic and wild animals, as well as fertilizers. Stormwater flows from the surrounding surfaces (streets, parking lots, lawns, agricultural areas) over sand and into the lake. This can cause elevated levels of bacteria to be detected. Some communities funnel stormwater into the Great Lakes through pipes called outfalls, which can contribute to the bacteria levels. Nationally, stormwater is the most frequent cause of beach closings.

How can we help solve this problem? Encourage your community to incorporate “green spaces” such as rain gardens, wetlands, or a pond system near hard surfaces so the rain runoff can be absorbed and filtered instead of flowing directly into the Great Lakes. Other ideas include using hard surfaces that allow water to pass through (permeable paving) and planting native grasses in “green borders” around parking lots.

6. Discuss the mysteries in a large group. Have students present their answers to each other.

7. Create! After students have solved the Beach Mysteries, have them create and label a diagram that shows at least three to four ways bacterial pollution can get to the beach. Students should include solutions to the problems in their diagrams.

8. Discuss as a class: What are solutions to beach health issues? Have students share the responses in their diagrams. remember that while monitoring can indicate that there is a problem, it doesn’t identify or eliminate the source. Source elimination is the ultimate solution.

How will students’ knowledge of beach health issues change their future behavior at the beach?

9. As a follow-up, have students write a persuasive essay about human responsibility with regard to beach health. This can include the following:

a. Your area may or may not have a program for monitoring the recreational water quality for beach health purposes. Why should such a program exist in your community?

b. Humans can change their behaviors to improve water quality. What should or shouldn’t people do to help improve water quality?

wrap-up extension

1. Play Mysterious Bacteria to finish the activity.2. Students sit in a circle with their eyes closed. Choose one

student to be the “beach bacteria.” Tap this student on the shoulder and have everyone re-open his or her eyes. The student uses the knowledge from the activity to decide what source s/he is from (sewage overflow, seagull waste, stormwater runoff)

3. Have the students walk around the room, shaking hands with each other. When the “bacteria” student shakes hands, s/he squeezes the other students’ hand, indicating the spread of the bacteria.

4. When a student is “contaminated,” s/he dramatically falls to the ground, indicating sickness.

5. Other students can guess who the “bacteria” student is. If they are wrong, they are out of the game.

6. Once the student is identified, the other students can ask yes or no questions to determine the student’s selected source of contamination.

7. After the game, explain that it is currently very difficult to determine the source of bacteria in the water, much like it was difficult to determine which student was the harmful bacteria and what their source was.

1. research the status of recreational water quality in your area by inviting a beach manager as a guest speaker to your classroom.

2. Have the students decide if they would like to take action to improve beach health in their community. If so, have them choose one or more of the following options:

• Participate in the Alliance for the Great Lakes’s Adopt-a-Beach program, which enables students to create positive change for their beaches through litter clean-up and monitoring and water quality monitoring.

• Turn the persuasive essays regarding beach health into a class “letter to the editor” for your local paper.

assessment

rubric on next page

procedure continued

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Beach MysteriesCOSEE Greatest of the Great Lakes—A Medley of Model Lessons

MYSTErIES: Student works with other students to respond to activity questions. Student helps share one scenario and group response. Student listens to other mysteries and participates in the discussions. Student uses active listening skills (eye-contact, confirming or referencing others’ comments, affirmative gestures or comments).

DIAGrAM: Student draws a diagram that shows at least 3 ways bacterial pollution enters the lake. Diagram is understandable and labeled. Student discusses diagram and articulates how knowledge may shape his/her future behavior.

GAME: Student participates in Mysterious Bacteria game by listening to and following rules, participating as necessary, and trying to guess the “mystery” student.

Addresses all of the components

Addresses all of the components

Addresses all of the components

Missing one component

Missing one component

Missing one component

Missing two components

Missing two components

Missing two components

Missing threeor more

components

Missing three or more

components

Missing three or more

components

Beach Mysteries Rubric

ElEmEnts

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Great Lakes in My World©Alliance for the Great Lakes, 2005.

journal pages

FIrST nAME

LAST nAME

APPrOvED BY

Beach Mysteries

[1] Facts: A high level of bacteria is not detected at the beach. A flock of seagulls spot some food and wrappers left behind by humans. They land on the beach to eat and inspect the garbage. A boat sails by in the distance. Two kayakers paddle up to the shore, which startles the birds. They fly away. Several hours after the seagulls arrived, water samples are taken. When they come back from the lab, results show there is a high level of bacteria in the water near the beach.

Questions: How did the bacteria get there? ............................................................................................................................................

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How can we help solve this problem?............................................................................................................................................

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[2] Facts: The beach is clean. A high level of bacteria is not detected. That night a huge rainstorm takes place. It rains hard all night long. You think it is a great night to stay in and do laundry and your dishes, so your family runs both the washing machine and the dishwasher. You listen to music while doing homework, then go to bed. The next day, the beach is closed because the beach managers have received a call from the water treatment plant. Based on the call, the beach managers know there will be high levels of bacteria in the water.

Questions: How did the bacteria get there?............................................................................................................................................

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What did the mysterious phone call tell the beach managers about why the beaches should be closed?............................................................................................................................................

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How can we help solve this problem? ............................................................................................................................................

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Beach MysteriesCOSEE Greatest of the Great Lakes—A Medley of Model Lessons

journal pages

FIrST nAME

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[3] Facts: A few friends meet on the beach in the morning to walk their dogs. The dogs run along the shoreline and into the water, fetching sticks for an hour. A jet-ski zooms by in the distance and several motor boats pass by at high speeds. When the group with the dogs leaves, there is dog waste visible along the water’s edge. The next day, the beach is closed because the beach managers have detected high levels of bacteria at the beach.

Questions: How did the bacteria get there? ............................................................................................................................................

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How can we help solve this problem?............................................................................................................................................

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[4] Facts: During a walk around your neighborhood, you see dog waste on the ground, ants walking on the sidewalk and into the grass and hear birds singing in the trees. After it rains that night, the beaches are closed. You remember that the dog waste was not close to the beach, but in the grass across the street from it. It was not really a heavy rain, and you know that there was not a “sewage overflow,” but there are still high levels of bacteria when the beach managers get the results back from a water sample they take after the rainy night.

Questions: How did the bacteria get there? ............................................................................................................................................

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How can we help solve this problem?............................................................................................................................................

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Beach Mysteries 4-8

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Beach MysteriesCOSEE Greatest of the Great Lakes—A Medley of Model Lessons

Great Lakes in My World©Alliance for the Great Lakes, 2005.

journal pages

FIrST nAME

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[5] Create and label a diagram that shows at least three ways bacterial pollution can get to the beach. Include solutions to the problems you indicate in the diagram.

Beach Mysteries 4-8

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[6] Write a persuasive essay or letter to the editor about human responsibility with regard to beach health. You may include the following ideas:

a. Your area may or may not have a program for monitoring the recreational water quality for beach health purposes. Why should such a program exist in your community?

b. Humans can change their behaviors to improve water quality. What should or shouldn’t people do to help improve water quality?............................................................................................................................................

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Beach Mysteries 4-8

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A Prescription for Healthy Beaches

Helping You Help Your Beach

LAKE MICHIGAN FEDERATION

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2

Our Beaches are Hurting

Whether you are walking a remote stretch of beach on Beaver

Island or playing volleyball on Chicago’s popular waterfront,

our beaches serve as gathering spots for friends, families, and

people of all ages, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

They help weave us together as communities. Unfortunately,

bacteria, viruses, and other “germs” from animal and human

waste often hurt our region’s beaches. They get into the Great

Lakes and their tributaries from sewer overows, wildlife, and

agricultural runoff.

This prescription will lead you through four easy steps

intended to help you understand why beaches close, and what

you can do to keep them healthy - and open.

A Prescription for Healthy Beaches

Helping You Help Your Beach

1. Educate Yourself

1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the problem

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3

Beach Closings are a Public Health Issue

These pollutants can linger in water and wet

sand where they can make you and your

family ill if your eyes, nose ears or mouth are

exposed. Local ofcials are often forced to close

beaches when bacteria levels exceed acceptable

limits. Bacteria, viruses and pathogens can

cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomachache, nausea,

headache, and fever. Other forms of bacteria

can cause giardiasis, amoebic dysentery, skin

rashes, and pink eye. Everyone who heavily

uses nearshore areas for recreation - including

kayakers and swimmers - is at risk when untreated

wastewater is present, but children may be most

susceptible if they put contaminated sand in their

mouths.

Unfortunately, sometimes the agencies entrusted

with caring for our beaches do not have enough

basic information to know whether

your community even has a

problem. To help eliminate

the largest known source

of beach contamination,

sewage overows, you

need to know what sewage

overows are and why they

happen.

1.Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the problem

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4

Many sewer systems in urban areas were built

over a hundred years ago and were designed for

a much smaller number of users. Some cities

may combine pipes (“combined sewer systems”)

that carry rainwater from storm sewers with pipes

that carry domestic and industrial wastewater. This

includes water that you use for showering, ushing the

toilet and washing dishes. The pipes often ll to

capacity during heavy rains.

When the sewer systems reach

capacity, extra sewage, which

includes human, animal, and

industrial waste, is usually

discharged into lakes, rivers and

streams, making them unsafe for

human use. These discharges are

called, “combined sewer overows”

or CSOs.

Aging Sewer Systems Contribute to the Problem 1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the problem

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5

Other communities have separate pipes for sanitary waste

and stormwater (separated sewers). Just like combined

sewer systems, separated systems can have capacity

problems and experience overows. These overows are

called “sanitary sewer overows” or SSOs.

Not all communities are served by sewage treatment

plants. Many homeowners in small towns and rural areas

must provide their own septic system. Some of these

systems leak sewage directly into streams. With age

sewer lines can crumble and aging septic systems can leak,

allowing raw sewage to enter the surface and groundwater.

There’s good news, however. This plan outlines a variety of

measures you can take to safeguard your community from

health risks associated with bacterial pollution. Because

every beach is different, this “prescription” is not intended

to be a “cure-all.” Rather, it is intended to provide a

formula that can be adjusted to suit virtually every Great

Lakes community.

Aging Sewer Systems Contribute to the Problem 1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the problem

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6

Make Changes Around Your Home

While water use at home is a smaller source of

pollution than industrial and agricultural use, practicing

water conservation at home can ease pollution to local

waterways and beaches . . . and every bit counts.

Plus, what you learn from practicing water conservation

around the home can often be used at work.

What you can do:

2. Start Small 1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the plan

Automatic lawn sprinkling systems can sometimes be seen continuing to water lawns, even while it’s raining! When this water leaves your home or lawn it can enter the sewer system and contribute even more to an already burdened system. This extra water increases the chances that untreated sewage will be released to a river, lake, or stream.

During storms, delay activities that require a lot of water, such as laundry or washing dishes.

1.

2.Have your septic system pumped out annually and inspected regularly. An overloaded or broken septic system can leak sewage into the surround-ing ground and water.

Keep your septic system in proper working order.

3.During rainfalls, these wastes can get washed into local sewers. Try using composted food waste from home as a fertilizer for gardens.

Eliminate or minimize your use of manure as fertilizer on gardens and lawns.

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1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the plan

Be a Responsible Beachgoer

Waste from wildlife is a source of bacteria on

the beach and in the water. Garbage, especially

leftover food from picnics, can attract gulls,

raccoons, and opossums to the beaches. This

wildlife then leaves its waste on local beaches

and this can cause contamination.

What you can do:

Animals get used to being fed by humans quickly. If fed frequently enough, they will spend more time on the beaches and leave more waste behind.

Alewives are a small sh that wash up onto beaches, sometimes in great numbers. As they decay they contribute bacteria to the lake and attract wildlife, which in turn deposit waste on the beach.

Research suggests that waste from children can contribute to beach contamination. Incontinent adults or adults experiencing any type of gastrointestinal illness should avoid swimming in the lake.

Ask your local beach management agency to provide trash bins that are large enough to contain waste, even from long holiday weekends. Press them to clean up trash more often if you see garbage bins overowing.

Don’t feed seagulls or any other wildlife you encounter at the beach.

Ask your local beach management agency to clean up dead alewives.

Properly dispose of your trash in waste receptacles.

Infants and toddlers should wear rubber pants if they go in the water.

1.

2.

3.

4.

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1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the plan

Practice Proper Pet Management

Pet owners enjoy walking their pets and playing

with them at the beach. Wastes from our pets,

whether in our yard or at the beach, is a source

of bacteria that can contaminate our beaches.

You can help reduce the impact of your

pet’s waste by following these common sense

measures.

What you can do:

Pet waste can contaminate sand and water.

If left on lawns, sidewalks, or alleys, pet waste can wash into local sewers and waterways during rain events.

Properly dispose of your pet’s waste at the beach.

Properly dispose of your pet’s waste on your lawn and when walking your pet around the neighborhood.

Dog beaches should be properly sited and carefully controlled.

“Dog beaches” are becoming more popular, and controversial, in some cities. If they are going to exist, they should not lead to beach contamination or migratory bird disturbances.

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2.

3.

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1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the plan

Eliminate Boating Waste

Our lakes provide a wonderful playground for

boating and sailing. If you use the lakes

for boating, please protect them by “treading”

lightly as you go.

What you can do:

1.

2.

3.

Instead, discharge your waste at pump-out stations, which are located at virtually every harbor. Encourage your fellow boaters to do the same. If your harbor doesn’t have one, lead an effort to get one installed, and make sure it is marked with a large, visible sign.

Boaters in some Great Lakes states, like Wisconsinand Indiana, are required to use pump-out stations.Other states, like Michigan and Illinois, do not havesuch laws.

When you go boating, don’t empty your waste into the water.

Ask your state representative or congressman to sponsor a law prohibiting the discharge of waste from commercial ships.

Some Great Lakes states already prohibit this practice, even if the waste has already been treated by “marine sanitation devices.” Other states, like Illinois and Indiana have no similar prohibition. In theory, a commercial ship in one of these states could release its sanitary waste into a harbor near area beaches without risk of violating state law.

Ask your state elected ofcials to sponsor a law requiring boaters to use pump out stations.

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10

3. Take ActionIdentify Contamination Sources

The ultimate step to ensuring a healthy beach is to determine

what is causing the contamination. Once you know where

pollution comes from, you can work to eliminate its source.

Local beach management agencies are usually park districts

or public health departments. At the end of the year these

agencies report their beach monitoring data to a state public

health department.

Different agencies that operate sewer systems also

usually exist. The end of this plan includes a

listing of public health departments and their contact

information along Lake Michigan’s coasts. Once you

know who to contact, there are a number of

questions you can ask to start in your quest to save

your beach.

What you can do:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the plan

Ask your agency how it monitors for bacterial pollution.

How often do they monitor?

What testing method do they use?

Ask your agency how it surveys underground sewers.

Ask your agency how it keeps track of large bird populations.

Ask your agency how it identies sources of beach contamination.

Ask your agency how it keeps track of how many people use the beach.

Ask your agency how it knows if there are instances of people getting sick after

swimming.

These sources may include local sewer lines that

empty into the lake, one of its rivers, or even

underground, where it can seep into area waters.

Cracked or crumbling pipes allow groundwater to

inltrate and contribute to overows and sewage to

ow out, leading to groundwater contamination.

Seagulls are a common source of animal waste on

the beach.

In some instances beaches may be exeriencing an

overload in the numbers of bathers using the beach.

Does it keep records of reported outbreaks?

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11

Stop Sewage Overows

Now that you know what overows are and why they happen, you can start to help eliminate them in your community by asking the right questions of your local sewage agency.

What you can do:

According to event sponsors, approximately 50 of

5500 participants in the 2001 Mrs. T’s Triathalon, held

in Chicago on August 26, declined to participate due

to elevated levels of e-coli in Lake Michigan after

heavy rains caused sewage to be released into the

lake from the 95th street locks the day before.

1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the plan

fact

1.

2.

3.

Ask your local planinng department whether itrequires stormwater downspouts from roofs to be separated from sanitary sewers.

Ask your local sewerage agency whether it uses “rain blockers.”

Ask your agency whether it routinely cleans out its sewer system.

This can be most effective if done before a building is constructed. If disconnection is done “after-the-fact,” it may be advisable to seek the help of a knowledgeable friend or contractor.

These are devices that cause streets to temporarily ood while preventing sewage from backing up in your house. Though rain blockers aren’t effective in all instances, they can be effective in reducing the impact from some storms in certain areas.

Regular maintenance will keep dirt, sediment, and debris from taking up capacity that could otherwise be used to store wastewater until treated.

1994 1995 1996 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

Cook County Lake Michigan Beach Closings

Cook county - other causes

Cook county - CSO Related

Year

Lake Michigan Beach Closings and Advisories 1996-2001

182

263 261

347

404

601

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

Year

Closings and Advisories

Clo

sing

s an

d A

dvis

orie

s

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12

Persuade Your Community to Minimize Impacts from New Development

Agencies can help signicantly reduce the impacts of

overows by working with communities to ensure the

sensible growth of new development.

Poorly planned development can impact local waterways

and beaches. This happens when new homes or

businesses are connected to a treatment plant that is

already struggling to keep up with the current amount

of waste to be treated. Luckily, there are a number

of things you can do to help beaches, while limiting

uncontrolled “sprawl” in your area at the same time.

What you can do:

1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the plan

Find out whether your local government requires developers to pay for larger sewer pipes, holding tanks or similar devices, to store the wastes of new households or businesses.

Ask your local government to consider requiring developers to direct water runoff from roofs into “green” spaces near the development (wetlands or other vegetated soils) rather than sewer lines.

If not, ask your local ofcial, e.g. alderman or planning director, to get involved. They can help ensure that new development is prohibited from being built until there is enough capacity in the sewer system to handle their waste. Some states, like Indiana, have a petition procedure that allows citizens to request a hearing on the matter.

For example, native grasses and other soft

landscapes can hold water during heavy rains.

Ground surfaces that do not absorb water, such as

concrete and asphalt, cause stormwater to run into

sewers. This increases the risk of overloading a

sewer system (for more info, refer to the permeable

surface website: http:/invisiblestructures.com).

Vegetation and soils help lter rainwater and return it

naturally to the ground without straining the sewers.

For existing homes and businesses, you can redirect

roof runoff in this manner. Collecting rainwater in

barrels for use on lawns and gardens during dry

weather also helps reduce the volume of water

entering the sewer system.

1.

2.

3.

Ask your local government to consider encouraging developers to incorporate natural elements into their design plans.

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13

Citizens need timely and accurate information

when beaches are not open. In the short run,

they won’t make unnecessary trips to the beach

and in the long run, they can understand how to

be part of the solution.

To aid in this education, beach managers

and members of the public should be notied

promptly and directly when a sewer overow

event occurs. This will help eliminate health

risks that may occur from uninformed citizens

swimming in contaminated beaches.

What you can do:

Demand Public Notication of Beach Closings and Their Causes

1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the plan

Call your local sewer authority and ask them who is notied when untreated sewage is discharged to local waterways.

If they don’t already notify any individuals

or agencies, urge them to inform local beach

management agencies and the public directly of

the reason for the closure, within one hour of an

overow.

These signs should warn people to avoid

swimming or playing in the area.

1.

2. Urge your local sewage authority to post warning signs close to sewage pipes that empty near beaches and waterways.

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14

The only way to ultimately stop health threats from

bacterial pollution at beaches is for citizens to press for

change. Aside from the above suggestions, citizens can

also get involved with others who are working to solve

the problem:

What you can do:

4. Get Involved!

www.epa.gov/owow/monitoring/volunteer/

www.epa.state.il.us/water/conservation-2000/vlmp.html

www.in.gov/dnr/soilcons/riverwatch

www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/fhp/lakes/shlmmain.htm

www.michigan.gov/deq/1,1607,7-135-3313_3686_3731-14766--CI,00.html

www.rivernetwork.org/library/librivmon_sdw.cfm

1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the plan

U.S. EPA Ofce of Water Monitoring Water Quality

Illinois EPA VolunteerLake Monitoring Program

Hoosier Riverwatch

Wisconsin’s Self-HelpCitizen Lake Monitoring

Michigan Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program

River Network Getting Started withVolunteer Monitoring

1. Participate in a citizen-monitoring program for your beach. The results of these programs may provide evidence that your municipality needs to start regular testing or can tell you whether your beach agency’s testing is accurate. Participate in the Federation sponsored Coastal Cleanup and Adopt-a-Beach. Visit our www.lakemichigan.org for more information.

Lake MichiganFederation

www.lakemichigan.org/conservation/beach_health_index.asp

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15

Educate others! Pass along the information inthis plan to others so they can be part of the solution.

Develop a S.W.A.T. team! (Safe Water Action Team) Organize like-minded neighbors and community members to press for improved water quality at your local beach.

Get in touch. The Lake Michigan Federation and other community groups around the Great Lakes can help answer questions and steer you in the right direction for advocating better beach health in your area.

Citizens’ Center for Beach Health (312) 939-0838 x 3 or on the Web atwww.lakemichigan.org

1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the plan

3.

4.

2.

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i

ILLINOIS

EvanstonEvanston Health andHuman Services Department2100 Ridge AvenueEvanston, IL 60201P: 847-866-2969F: 847-448-8125

GlencoeGlencoe Park District999 Green Bay RoadGlencoe, IL 60622P: (847) 835-3030F: 847-835-7279

ChicagoChicago Park District Lakefront Services541 N. FairbanksChicago, IL 60611P: 312-742-5239F: 312-742-5339

LakeLake County Health Department3010 Grand Ave.,Waukegan, IL 60085P: 847-360-6748F: 847-249-4972

WilmetteVillage of Wilmette1200 Wilmette Ave.Wilmette, IL 60091P: 853-7508F: 853-7700

WinnetkaWinnetka Park District540 Hibbard RoadWinnetka, IL 60093P: 847-501-2040F: 847-501-5779

INDIANA

LakeLake County HealthDepartment2293 N. Main StreetCrown Pointe, IN 46307P: 219-755-3655

LakeCity of Hammond HealthDepartment649 Conkey StreetHammond, IN 46324-1101P: 219-853-6358F: 219-853-6403

LaPorteLa Porte County Health Department809 State Street, Suite 401ALa Porte, IN 46350-3385P: 219-326-6808 x 200F: 219-325-8628

PorterIndiana Dunes National Lakeshore1100 North Mineral Springs RoadPorter, IN 46304P: 219-926-7561 x 337F: 219-926-8816

1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the contacts

Who to Contact in Your Community:

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ii

EmmetNW Michigan Community Health Department-Emmet2233 Mitchell Park DrivePetoskey, MI 49770P: 231-547-7651

Grand TraverseGrand Traverse County Health Department2325 Gareld Road NorthTraverse City, MI 49686P: 231-995-6024F: 231-995-6033

Leelanau (Sleeping Bear)Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore-NPS9922 Front StreetEmpire, MI 49630-9797P: 231-326-5134

MackinacLMAS District Health Department749 HombachSt. Ignace, MI 49781P: 906-643-1105F: 906-643-7719

ManisteeDistrict Health Department #10-Manistee County385 3rd StreetManistee, MI 49660P: 231-723-3595F: 231-723-1477

MasonMason County Health Department1110 S. Washington AvenueLudington, MI 49431P: 231-845-7381

MICHIGAN

AlleganAllegan County Health Department2233 33rd StreetAllegan, MI 49010P: 616-673-5411

AntrimNorthwest Michigan Community Health AgencyPO Box 246Bellaire, MI 49615P: 231-587-5052

BerrienBerrien County Health Department-Env. Health Division2106 S. M-139 P.O. Box 706Benton Harbor, MI 49023-0706P: 616-927-5623F: 616-927-2960

Benzie / LeelanauBenzie-Leelanau District Health Department6051 Frankfort Hwy., Suite 100Benzonia, MI 49616P: 231-882-2103/5F: 231-882-2204

Charlevoix / Emmet / AntrimNorthwest Michigan Community Health Agency220 W. GareldCharlevoix, MI 49720P: 231-547-7651F: 231-547-6238

Delta / MenomineePublic Health Delta & Menominee2920 College AvenueEscanaba, MI 49829P: 906-786-9692F: 906-789-8147

1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the contacts

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iii

MICHIGAN (continued)

MuskegonMuskegon County Health Department, Environmental Health209 E. Apple DriveMuskegon, MI 49442P: 231-724-1259F: 231-724-1251

OceanaDistrict Health Department #10-Oceana3986 N. Oceana DriveHart, MI 49420P: 231-873-2193

OttawaOttawa County Health Department12251 James StreetSuite 200Holland, MI 49424-9661P: 616-393-5645F: 616-393-5643

1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the contacts

SchoolcraftLMAS District Health Department300 Walnut Street, Room 155Manistique, MI 49854P: 906-341-4110F: 906-341-5230

Van BurenVan Buren/Cass County Public Health Department, Van Buren County Ofce57418 CR 681, Suite AHartford, MI 49057P: 616-621-3143F: 616-621-2725

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iv

MilwaukeeCity of Milwaukee Health Department Division of Disease Control and Prevention 841 N. Broadway Milwaukee, WI 53202-3653 P: 414-286-3674

OcontoOconto County Courthouse-Forestry and Parks Dept.301 Washington StreetOconto, WI 54153P: 920-834-6827F: 920-834-6821

OzaukeeHarrington Beach State Park531 County Road DBelgium, WI 53004P: (262) 285-3015F: 262-285-7821

RacineCity of Racine Health Department Environmental Health Division730 Washington Ave.Racine, WI 53403 P: 262-636-9203 F: 262-636-9165

SheboyganSheboygan County Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health1011 N. 8th StreetSheboygan, WI 53081P: 920-459-4382

WISCONSIN1. Educate Yourself

2. Start Small

3. Take Action

4. Get Involved!

5. Contacts

the contacts

DoorDoor County Sanitarian OfceP.O. Box 670Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235-0670P: 920-746-2308

Door (Penisula State Park)Peninsula State Park, WI DNRP.O. Box 218Fish Creek, WI 54212P: 920-868-2957F: 920-868-1931

KewauneeCity of Kewaunee413 Milwaukee StreetKewaunee, WI 54216P: 920-388-5000F: 920-388-5025

KenoshaKenosha County Division of Health714 52nd StreetKenosha, WI 53140P: 262-605-6700F: 262-605-6715

ManitowocManitowoc County Health Department823 Washington StreetManitowoc, WI 54220P: 920-683-4155F: 920-683-4156

MarinetteMarinette County Health and Human Services Department2500 Hall AvenueMarinette, WI 54143P: 715-732-7670F: 715-732-7646

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