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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Lake Michigan Coastal Program > Coastal Issues > About the Inter-agency Technical Task Force on E. Coli About the Inter-agency Technical Task Force on E. Coli

EcoliThe Inter-Agency Technical Task Force on E. Coli has been formed to cooperatively develop a strategy to eliminate the bacterial contamination of Indiana's beaches along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The Task Force, beginning in February 1996, has evolved into an on-going collaboration among experts in federal, state, and local agencies. The Task Force continues to evolve as committees are established to focus on major categories of potential sources, and individuals and organizations are invited to continue to share their knowledge and experience in this process. The Task Force effectively serves as a method of communication among responsible and interested entities involved in the issue of water quality. To more efficiently implement its goals, the Task Force has established four committees. Three committees have been established to concentrate on three major categories of potential sources. A fourth committee is directed to testing procedures and facilitating interagency data access. The committees are identified as: Point Sources and Sewerage Overflows and Bypasses; Nonpoint Sources and Septic Systems; Marine and Other Sources; and Monitoring Methods, Data Acquisition, and Information Dissemination. The committees will coordinate with experts, agencies, organizations and individuals, recommendations to maintain Indiana's healthy beaches. The Task Force prepared a Scoping Document in November 1996 to outline the issue of the infrequent contamination of swimming waters along the shoreline. The Scoping Document provides general parameters for planning and research. The Task Force then went through a series of brainstorming sessions to identify possible sources of bacteria contamination and list potential actions to further define the sources or remediate the problems. The Monitoring Methods, Data Acquisition, and Information Dissemination Committee of the Task Force is currently preparing standard operating procedures for the sampling of beaches and analysis procedures. The procedures will provide an increased level of consistency of sampling and analysis across multiple agencies. In an effort to encourage consistency among methodologies, the Task Force creates an open forum for researchers to share their proposals and results. Proposals presented to the Task Force and found consistent with the Task Force approach can receive an informal letter of endorsement from the Task Force to include with their grant application.