Citizens Monitoring Bacteria

Project Staff: 

Barbara Liukkonen, Water Resource Center

Funding: 

USDA Cooperative State Research Education, and Extension Service National Water Quality Program (2003 - 2006) and Legislative Commission on Minnesota’s Resources (2005-2007)

Project Duration: 

October 2003 - October 2007

Summary: 

Six upper-Midwest states were awarded a three-year grant to assess the accuracy and reliability of E. coli bacteria test kits when used by volunteers monitoring surface water. The University of Minnesota Water Resources Center is serving as the lead for that research grant from the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. In addition, the Legislative Commission on Minnesota’s Resources (LCCMR) has awarded the WRC two years of funding to enhance surface water monitoring by involving volunteers in monitoring bacteria.

Preliminary results from the research indicate that the test kits work well for volunteers; they are inexpensive (averaging about $2 per test); and the results are reasonably accurate when compared with lab analysis.