Grant will help researchers identify source of bacteria in Lake Erie

Posted at 5:13 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-28 09:45:23-04

Once again, swimming is off-limits at Gallagher Beach because the water is simply too dangerous for humans, but a new collaboration is looking to pinpoint the source of that bacteria and develop a plan to combat it.

The studies' lead investigator, SUNY Buffalo State professor Gary Pettibone and a team of researchers will use a $12,000 grant to identify and isolate problem areas along Gallagher beaches’ 1400 foot shoreline.

Researchers say the points under investigation are a storm drain and a bird nesting colony south of the beach. They are hopeful once they identify the source they can begin targeting ways to correct it.

“This will allow us to really be able to compare these microbial organisms that we find in the water samples to known microbial samples to find out exactly what species we do have,” Amy McMillan, Associate Professor of Biology at SUNY Buffalo State told 7 Eyewitness News.

“We can then look at whether we can see the same signal that we have in some of these point sources from the signals that we're getting from the buffalo pier area.”

The team says they are using relatively new technology in their research and it will be only the second time the investigators have tried to gather data with the equipment.

Researchers with this project are hoping by this time next year the data they've collected will be used to lead to a solution to the bacteria problem and the beaches will once again be open to swimmers.