High Levels Of E. Coli Prompt Park Lake Beach Closure
If you’re heading to Park Lake Beach in Bath Township, you’ll be met with a sign that says "beach closed, unsafe for swimming."
When water testing results following a second week of monitoring for E. coli were higher than first reported, Bath Township, in conjunction with the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, decided to close the beach swimming area indefinitely.
If levels of E. coli exceed 300 per 100 millimeters of water, it can cause an advisory or beach closure.
The daily average for weeks 1 and 2 of testing at Park Lake Beach were 443.3 per 100 millimeters and 756.3 per 100 millimeters of water.
MMDHD Environmental Health Director Liz Braddock says within the first few weeks of testing they realized there was an E. coli issue.
“We’re not saying that the entire lake has E. coli, we’re just saying that the portion of the beach that is used as recreation water for swimming is a concern to us.”
Although the contamination source at the beach is not yet known, the bacteria itself originates from feces.
Braddock says wildlife like geese like to visit and create habitats near the beach. Due to recent rain, runoff is coming from the grassy areas where they congregate into the beach, which could be a contributing factor.
Braddock also says her team is doing source tracking through a laboratory to help identify the source of the contamination.
“So we are looking for source tracking of the samples which is a long-term project and we may get the results back at the end of the summer.”
This week, Braddock says her team will take some water samples at other locations on the lake to see if they have a lower baseline bacteria level.
Results are collected and can be found at BeachGuard.
Bath Township and the Mid-Michigan District Health Department are warning the public not to swim at this time until E. coli levels decrease.
McKoy's story is brought to you as part of a partnership between WKAR and Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.