'We're not finding any really scary pathogens' — results of citizen-led water testing released

The water at beaches around Essex County may not be as polluted as we think. Scientists at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research released findings Wednesday of a sampling of water around Essex County conducted last August.

Survey was conducted across Windsor-Essex last August

University of Windsor professor Subba Rao Chaganti discusses the results of last year's citizen-led water sampling effort at a conference on Tuesday, May 16, 2018. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

The water at beaches around Windsor and Essex County may not be as polluted as was previously thought.

On Thursday, scientists at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER) released findings of a regional, citizen-led sampling of water conducted last August.

Hundreds of residents sent in samples from areas including Point Pelee, Holiday Beach, the Detroit River and Sandpoint Beach.

University of Windsor professor Dan Heath said that even though the beaches were closed several times during the summer, there wasn't a lot of harmful bacteria in the water.

"I think [the health unit] errs on the side of caution, so the beaches may be closed when they don't have to be ... overall we're not finding any really scary pathogens popping up," he said.

In some areas, bacteria from goose poop was found in higher concentrations. It is not as harmful as human waste.

Heath cautions that the results only represent the conditions on a single day. He hopes to do the testing again this summer if funding is available.