Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Water-Quality Test May Reduce Beach Closures

A new rapid water-quality test provides accurate same day results of bacteria levels, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The new test could help reduce un-neccessary beach closures in both saltwater and freshwater environments. Beach closures not only impact recreational users in the summertime, but they also create huge losses for the local economy.

Due to a variety of waterborne illnesses, beaches have been at the forefront of recent research on human health risk.

The new rapid water-quality test, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will help managers across the country determine whether beaches are safe for swimming in order to keep the public from getting sick.

Previous tests could not provide same-day results, so managers had to decide whether to close a beach based on findings from the day before.

The new rapid test, called quantitative polymerase chain reaction for enterococci, is recommended by the EPA, but it is not a requirement. The test has been included in the 2012 EPA guidelines for safe levels of indicator bacteria, including: Escherichia coli (E. coli) and enterococci.

source: U.S. Geological Survey

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