BENTON HARBOR — A family packs up and heads to the beach on Lake Michigan for a long-planned vacation. When they get there they learn that the water has been closed to swimmers because of contamination by E.coli, which can cause illness if swallowed.

This is an aggravation and an inconvenience for the family, but it is also a symptom of the larger issue of water quality in the rivers and streams that flow into Lake Michigan, the source of our drinking water.