Improving public health recreational beach water quality monitoring programs through academic partnership
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) conducts water quality monitoring at several local public beaches on a seasonal basis (June-August) for purposes of assessing health risk to patron contact with potentially contaminated surface water. This information is important and used by the MHD in decision making specifically related to the necessity of posting daily public water quality advisories at each site. These advisories alert patrons of elevated bacteria levels in the water posing a potential health risk. During 2012, the MHD developed a partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health to more comprehensively assess water quality at each City public beach including monitoring of Escherichia coli levels, impact of seagull and algal presence, significance of rainfall on water quality and determination of triclocarban concentrations. In addition, sub-daily E. coli samples were obtained to better understand variance in public exposure as a function of time of day. The data collected as a result of this partnership suggest that non-point pollution sources from stormwater run-off and sewer cross connections may contribute to adverse environmental beach water quality conditions. In addition, documented fluctuation of E. coli during a single day indicate a potential wide variance In water quality conditions at a beach having implications for both sample collection and current public health risk assessment processes. The data collected validates the need for local public health agencies to conduct routine sanitary surveys of designated public beaches for purposes of identifying unique characteristics and influences impacting water quality. In addition, the partnership informs both future research as well as refinement of practitioner strategic outcomes and operational field protocols. Leveraging academic partnerships to enhance public health agency capacity and capability is an important tool that can advance understanding of public health risk within these settings.
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Environmental health sciences
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health administration or related administration
Describe the collaboration including key objectives between the City of Milwaukee Health Department and University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee School of Public Health in developing a recreational water quality monitoring program.
Explain data collected during seasonal monitoring of three public beaches located in the City of Milwaukee during 2012.
Discuss advantages of partnership with academic institutions as related to improving local public health agency capacity and capabilities.
Define future strategies for further collaboration between the City of Milwaukee Health Department and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Heatlh as related to recreational water quality monitoring.
Keyword(s): Water Quality, Environmental Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I currently serve as Director of Disease Control and Environmental Health for the City of Milwaukee Health Department and provide management oversight for recreational water quality monitoring programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.