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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funding Improves Water Quality at Northeast Ohio Beaches

Release Date: 07/02/2013
Contact Information: Peter Cassell, 312-886-6234,

No. 13-OPA026

CHICAGO – Great Lakes beaches were open 94 percent of the time last summer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 BEACH report. EPA’s Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Report is available at:

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is improving water quality so that people can enjoy more days at Northeast Ohio beaches,” said Susan Hedman, EPA’s Regional Administrator / Great Lakes National Program Manager. “Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-funded projects make beaches safer by eliminating sources of harmful contamination and by monitoring water quality to protect beachgoers.”

The major sources of contamination that affect Great Lakes beaches are sewer system overflows, stormwater runoff and waste from boats, septic systems, and wildlife.

Since 2010, 41 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-funded projects, totaling more than $27 million, have been implemented to improve water quality at Northeast Ohio beaches. Seven projects are highlighted below.

Project TitleRecipientYearFunding AmountProject Description
Comparison of Methodologies to Assess Bacterial Levels at Ohio BeachesNortheast Ohio Regional Sewer District2010$87,959 This project, conducted by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, will start during the 2011 recreation season and will include collection of water samples at four Lake Erie beaches. The samples will be analyzed for E. Coli and Enterococci using new rapid test methods (immunomagnetic seperation/adenosine triphosphate (IMS/ATP), quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)) and traditional standard culture methods. The results from IMS/ATP and qPCR will be compared to the results from the culture-based method to evaluate the effectiveness of rapid test methods. A subset of the collected samples will also be analyzed for Clostridium and Campylobacter to determine if these bacteria exist in quantifiable amounts in beach sand and water.
Holistic Watershed Approach at Huntington BeachCuyahoga County Board of Health2010$247,518 This project is designed to improve recreational water quality at Huntington Beach by reducing pathogen inputs from the surrounding watershed. DNA fingerprinting will be used to link land-based sources of fecal pollution runoff in the water/sewer-shed to outfalls at Huntington Beach. Information from this project will be used to identify strategies and management practices to minimize exposure to hazards for beach visitors.
Innovative Rapid Identification of Lake Erie Fecal SourcesThe Ohio State University2010$249,512 Ohio`s Lake Erie beaches are among the Nation`s most impaired. With a need for data-driven remediation plans to maximize source reductions, this project will employ two rapid molecular tools to quantify human and waterfowl-specific fecal indicators at three Ohio beaches. Routine sanitary and water quality surveys performed in tandem with molecular methods will provide details on human and waterfowl impacts that will improve recreational decision-making.
Rapid Bacteria Detection at Cleveland BeachesNortheastern Ohio Medical University2010$224,988 This project will use multiplexed, near-real time pathogen detection technology to significantly improve decision-making about recreational beach use. This project will monitor water quality at Cleveland`s Villa Angela and Euclid Beaches in 2011.
Deploying Debris Management System in Cuyahoga River Area of ConcernCleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority2011$425,160 The grant will be used to purchase and deploy vessels and containment boom to capture floating debris in the North Coast Harbor and Cuyahoga Ship Channel to address the Degradation of Aesthetics Beneficial Use Impairment for the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern.
Cuyahoga County Surface Water Improvement Grants ProgramOhio Environmental Protection Agency2012$996,902 This project will accelerate local implementation of "green" stormwater control practices within Cuyahoga County, including 10 pervious pavement demonstrations, 12 bio-retention cells, 2 rain water harvesting demonstrations, 2000 square feet of community rain gardens, 21,000 square feet of vegetative bio-swales, and restoration and enhancement of 2 wetlands. The project also includes demonstrations of stream and wetland restoration methods.
Newell Creek Green InfrastructureChagrin River Watershed Partners Inc.2012$770,250 Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc. and its project partners will install green infrastructure projects at target sites within the Newell/Ward Creek watershed. At one site, the Great Lakes Mall, impervious surface material will be replaced with pervious concrete next to 32 existing stormwater catch basins in the Mall`s parking lot. This will allow stormwater from 50% of the 75-acre parking lot to infiltrate into the ground rather than enter the storm sewer system and will reduce the amount of contaminants discharged into the watershed. The expected load reductions are 309 tons/year of sediment, 611 lbs/year of nitrogen, and 303 lbs/year of phosphorus.

The 34 other GLRI projects for Northeast Ohio are available at

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched at the start of President Obama’s first term to coordinate the work of 16 federal agencies to protect and restore the Great Lakes. More information about the Initiative, including an interactive project map, is available at