Aerial Image Above Muskegon County Wastewater System
The second major impact on present and future water quality comes from concerns with levels of potentially harmful bacteria in the stream and lake system, particularly fecal coliform organisms. The Kent County Health Department monitors fecal coliform levels regularly at 2 to 4 sites in the watercourse and has "posted" Bear Creek to discourage total body contact as a consequence of its regular findings of high levels of these organisms in the water. Table 6 provides data on the fecal coliform findings from the Kent County Health Department over the past 3 years (See Appendix B for graphic illustration of Health Department results). It should be noted that no definitive conclusions have been reached about the relative contribution of human waste, livestock waste, wildlife waste or other coliform-producing sources to these totals.
During the 1992-93 project year, water quality monitoring for fecal coliform levels was undertaken upstream and downstream from an additional eight sites thought to be potential contributors to bacterial loading to Bear Creek and its tributaries. Figure 12 and Tables 7 and 8 provide data on sites currently being monitored by the Bear Creek Project. Scheduled samples are collected by Project staff from the downstream sites on a bi-weekly basis and from both downstream and upstream sites during rain events from June through October and submitted to the Health Department for analysis.