New E. coli tests faster at Erie's Presque Isle

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — Officials at Presque Isle State Park in Erie are using faster tests for elevated levels of E. coli bacteria in the water.

Normal testing for E. coli takes 24 hours, because the bacteria must be grown in a water sample taken to a laboratory.

But the Erie Times-News reports today that a new system in place this year relies on a computer program to determine if weather and other conditions are right for the bacteria to grow. If that happens, a Mercyhurst University biologist tests DNA in any bacteria cells in the water and results are usually available before beaches open at 11 a.m. each day.

The faster tests can be used to post swimming advisories.

The slower tests are still required by state law to determine if E. coli levels are high enough to restrict swimming.

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