State officials are testing nearly twice as many public swimming holes this year as they did last year to check for bacteria contamination. Janice Boekhoff, the state’s beach monitoring coordinator, says many of the new beach testing sites are owned by counties and they’ve voluntarily signed up for the testing.Thirty-seven state-owned beaches are being tested this summer for bacteria contamination, and Boekhoff says 35 county-owned swimming areas will be tested. The state pays for the testing and counties do not have to post the results. Boekhoff says the state’s paying to have the samples shipped to a lab and covering the cost of the lab work. State officials are training local folks to collect water samples weekly. The state has shifted money to cover the costs. She says some state-owned lakes that have improving water quality will not be tested as often. Boekhoff says “several of our really nice beaches that have not had any problems at all” will not be monitored as often to free-up money to test the water at county-owned beaches. The county beach testing started June first.
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