Scientists call for improved water testing at Windsor beaches

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Scientists call for improved water testing at Windsor beaches

Water-quality tests at Winsdor and Essex County beaches should be done more often and tests should include a wider range of harmful bacteria, say scientists from the University of Windsor.

The latest results of a study championed by the school's Great Lakes Institute of Environmental Research shows water quality at beaches can change both seasonally and by the hour, depending on conditions.

Into the first year of the study, there are many more questions that need to be answered when it comes to water-borne illnesses, explained Danielle Vanmensel, a Phd student at the Great Lakes Institute.

"The gold standard for beach water-quality testing for recreational use is the presence and abundance of E. coli, but that's not the only pathogen that we really need to focus on," she said.

The team of researchers partnered with citizen scientists last year to collect widespread daily water samples far beyond the current weekly testing done by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

More results will come as researchers continue to study the data over the next three years, but early results show an immediate need to test more often, explained Daniel Heath, a professor of biology and executive director of the Great Lakes Institute.

"Initial results show the bacterial communities change really quickly," he said.