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The Interagency Task Force on E. coli consists of experts from local, state, and federal agencies who have banded together in an effort to solve the bacteria induced beach closure problem in Northwest Indiana. A comprehensive approach to the problem will include consistent methods of data collection for the development of a real-time forecasting system, identification of the sources and fate of the bacteria, and a systematic program of remediation.
In order to implement its vision, the Task Force has established four committees:
Point Source and Sewerage Overflow Committee
This committee focuses on potential sources and possible actions identified by the Task Force pertaining to point sources such as waste water treatment facilities, illegal discharges, inadequate design and maintenance of collection systems, combined sewer overflows and sanitary overflows.
Nonpoint Source and Septic System Committee
This committee focuses on potential sources and possible actions identified by the Task Force pertaining to nonpoint sources such as degraded wetlands, urban runoff, agriculture, land application, and wildlife. Septic System issues are directed to inadequate design, installation, operation, and maintenance, and failed septic systems.
Marine and Other Sources Committee
This committee focuses on potential sources and possible actions identified by the Task Force pertaining to marine sources such as commercial vessels, recreational vessels, and marinas and ports. Other potential sources and their impacts the committee will review are humans, domestic animals, and sources from the lake other than watercraft.
Monitoring Methods, Data Acquisition, and Information Dissemination Committee
This committee focuses on protocols for sampling, monitoring, and analysis of water tested for E. coli. Currently the committee is developing "standard operating procedures" so that water is sampled and analyzed in a similar manner by each of the agencies responsible for monitoring the quality of water for recreational use. The committee will also direct its efforts to compiling data used in analyses and making it more widely accessible.