In many cities throughout the country, aging septic and sewage tanks can leak human waste and other unhealthy chemicals into streams and lakes.
This year alone, there have been 25 public beaches on Lake Michigan forced to close due to high bacteria levels, per WMUK.
But Michigan has a solution. A company founded in the state, Environmental Canine Services, uses dogs to locate the bacteria found in wastewater, according to WMUK.
Karen Reynolds founded Environmental Canine Services seven years ago with her husband, the report says.
Environmental Canine Services has six working dogs. This past summer, the company tracked wastewater in Berrien County, MI. Peg Kohring, Midwest director of The Conservation Fund, told WMUK that there have been ongoing problems at five beaches in the county.
“We’re finding that the beaches are closed and it’s because of human waste in the water. So we’re tracing back the drains trying to find where either there’s a failing septic system or maybe there’s a storm water drain and a sewer crossing,” Kohring said.
Reynolds said that regular water testing is still important, but the dogs can assist in directing scientists.
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