What We Do

The SWIM program activities work toward the goal of improving surface water quality in Macomb County.

Monitoring Programs:

1.  Bathing Beach Monitoring

MCHD staff monitor every bathing beach in the county twice weekly throughout the entire swimming season for                 Escherichia coli.    The data are evaluated for compliance with full body contact standards.  If beaches exceed one of the criteria, they are deemed unsuitable for swimming and are ordered to cease operation until the bacteria levels again become compliant with the standards.

2.  Watershed Monitoring

In order to gain a better understanding of the spatial distribution of fecal water contamination in the county, and to attempt to pinpoint sources or hotspot areas of contamination, MCHD staff monitor rivers, streams, and drains for a variety of water qaulity parameters once per week throughout the year.  These parameters include E. coli, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, conductivity, and temperature.

3.  Lake St. Clair Assessment

In order to gain a better understanding of the discharge of pollutants directly to Lake St. Clair, MCHD monitors 30 drains and river mouths discharging directly into the lake, once per week. Mutliple water quality parameters are measured at these sites, including E. coli, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, total suspended solids, conductivity, temperature, nutrients, and biological oxygen demand.  Sediments at these locations are tested for a variety of metals.

Enforcement Programs:

Presently, enforcement activities in the county require the voluntary consent of county residents for inspection of their septic sytems and plumbing by MCHD staff.  This inspection determines whether any untreated water or sewage is reaching surface waters in thecounty.

1.  Septic System Maintenance Evaluation

MCHD staff  monitors the performance of functioning septic systems in the county, to make certain that they are not contributing fecal pollution to surface waters.

2.  Dye-testing

MCHD staff places a dye into the toilets, sink and laundry facilities in homes.  This dye will make any discharge to nearby streams visible.

Educational Programs

MCHD staff seek to increase knowledge and consciousness of the value of healthy surface waters among county residents.  Special educational school programs administered by MCHD staff work toward the goal of instilling environmental consciousness among students.  Literature describing the goals and activities of the SWIM program, as well as how county residents can help protect the surface water quality of the county, are distributed to the public.  For more information, call (810)- 469- 5236.