Beach testing trouble

The entire western border of Ottawa County touches water, and county officials say their ability to test that water may soon be hindered.
Alex Doty
Nov 27, 2012


The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (B.E.A.C.H.) Act provides Michigan with $274,000 a year for monitoring Great Lakes beaches. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will eliminate the federal program as it trims nearly $10 million from its Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

Shannon Briggs, a toxicologist for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, isn't sure what lies ahead for the funding.

“We’ve received some amount of funding every year,” she said. “That money is distributed by the state to local beach management programs.”

Ottawa County health officials utilize these federal funds to look at beach quality.

“We have used B.E.A.C.H. Act funding and Clean Michigan Funding to test inland beaches,” said Adaline Hambley, the county's environmental health manager.

County health officials said the funding cut would force them to monitor differently, if at all.

“I’m not sure if we’ll have a program next year,” Hambley said.

At least up to this year, beach water in Ottawa County is tested weekly from June through September. Partnerships with several organizations have allowed the county to test more frequently and extensively than any other county on Michigan's west coast.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Good way to cut unneeded funding. Test the water...look at the brown line coming out of the Grand River, and if it goes south, just close the beaches. What does water testing do anyway? Nothing but tell you if there is a bunch of Grand Rapids crap in the water, period. They do nothing about the 'health' of the lake. Heck, the zebra mussels have cleaned the water up so much in the last 20 years that you can actually see the lake bottom from the pier now! This was through no funding of the BEACH program at all. And beach clean-up is done by there are people who are really concerned about the 'health' of our beaches. Not how much money the gubmint can give us for our coffers. Testing does NOTHING.

Back to the Wall


Loud, assertive ignorance.


explain, thanks. My rant comes from hands on experience working with these people and their stuck-up attitude towards the volunteers who clean the beaches. Your turn.


As much as I hate to agree with one of my fans "you're a troll who can't stay on subject and tosses in his own skewed political agenda, we ALL comprehend that," I agree with 43 IQ. Having spent years of my youth in a beach community on the East Coast, and having been a bayman (clams) on and off, this testing simply makes foolish people feel more dependent on the gubmint - how many folks enjoyed the Lake Michigan beaches for decades without testing and without serious illness?

The real issue to me, and I know old 43 will object, is the missed statement in the article that "he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will eliminate the federal program as it trims nearly $10 million from its Fiscal Year 2013 budget."

The Obama Administration proposed a FY 2013 budget of $8.344 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This budget reflects a government-wide effort to reduce spending and find cost-savings, and is $105 million below the EPA’s enacted level for FY 2012. Do the math - what's a cutback of $105 million from a budget of $8.344 billion?

And we don't have a spending problem?


no objection from me Vlad the impotent, trim away. Agreed it is not fiscal enough for some. But it is a start in the right direction.


Man, I really hate to agree with you but your right here. Testing if they want to do it outta be at the source of the problem where something could actually be done about it. Oh, the brown you see is mud mostly. The Grand runs thru a lot of farm land and you get a lot of dirt in the water. Now that mud is probably carrying a lot of bad stuff but the bad stuff is not where the color is coming from.


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