Sources and mechanisms of delivery of E. coli (bacteria) pollution to the Lake Huron shoreline of Huron County

Lake Huron Science Committee
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Ontario Ministry of the Environment

In 2004, the Lake Huron Science Committee (LHSC) was initiated by Ministry of the Environment (MOE), in consultation with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) and Environment Canada (EC), in response to public concerns over bacterial (E. coli) pollution along the southeast shoreline of Lake Huron. The committee was created as an MOE-led, multi-agency technical committee to: i) identify sources of E. coli (as an indicator of fecal pollution) to the shoreline of Lake Huron, ii) investigate the extent of influence of fecal pollution sources on the shoreline, and, iii) make recommendations on possible actions to address the microbial pollution of fecal origin. The approach was to develop a time-limited science work plan, and to identify partners to conduct the necessary monitoring and analysis for the identification of E. coli contamination and the associated fecal pollution sources. The LHSC adopted a phased strategy: Phase 1: Review and Synthesis of Existing Information; Phase 2: Development of Additional Studies; Phase 3: Development of Recommendations. This interim report presents the progress of the committee on Phase 1. The report presents a summary of existing information and attempts to provide a synopsis of the state of understanding of microbial pollution of fecal origin on the Huron County shores of Lake Huron, as inferred primarily from results for the fecal pollution indicator species E. coli. The approach taken was to examine information from three perspectives: i) the potential sources of microbial pollution of fecal origin to the shoreline were identified and described, ii) evidence for impacts on the shoreline by the various potential sources was reviewed, and iii) the potential mechanisms of delivery of microbial pollutants to the shoreline were explored.

water quality, E. coli, E. coli contamination, fecal pollution, microbial pollution, indicator species, source, shoreline, delivery mechanisms