Contamination advisories spoil swimming activities at 11 Michigan beaches

Signs posted at the entrance to the park and all of the beach areas warn visitors to stay out of the water due to the high levels of E. coli in the water.
Signs posted at the entrance to the park and all of the beach areas warn visitors to stay out of the water due to the high levels of E. coli in the water. Photo credit © Kelly Jordan / USA TODAY NETWORK

(WWJ) - Unsafe swimming conditions at almost a dozen beaches scattered in Metro Detroit and across the state are throwing a wrench in weekend plans.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy's Beach Guard system say high bacteria levels and other contaminants are to blame for 11 advisories as of Friday, Aug. 12.

Officials say water quality tested unsafe for human contact at beaches in Oakland, Monroe, Livingston, Washtenaw, and Macomb county among others from around Michigan.

As of Friday, Aug. 12 at 11 a.m., the current advisories through Beach Guard are as follows:

1. Saginaw Bay/Lake Huron, Singing Bridge Beach, Arenac County – contamination advisory since July 12 due to high bacteria levels from an unknown source.

2. Houghton Lake, Lakeview Park, Roscommon County – contamination advisory since July 26 due to high bacteria levels from wildlife.

3. Island Lake, North Park Beach, Oakland County – Closed since July 27 due to high bacteria levels from wildlife.

4. Lake Erie, Sterling State Park, Monroe County – contamination advisory since July 28. Officials listed “other” from an unknown source as the reason for the closure on Beach Guard.

5. Lake Erie, Luna Pier City Beach, Monroe County – contamination advisory since July 28. The reason is listed as “other” from an unknown source.

6. Thornapple Lake, Charlton Park, Barry County – Closed since Aug. 4 due to high bacteria levels from an unknown source.

7. Kent Lake, Island Lake Recreation Area, Livingston County – contamination advisory since Aug. 8 due to chemical or oil discharge. The Livingston County Department of Public Health said this beach has been closed due to hexavalent chromium detection.

8. Big Seven Lake, Seven Lakes State Park, Oakland County – Closed since Aug. 9 due to high bacteria levels from wildlife.

9. Teeple Lake, Teeple Lake Recreation Area in Highland State Park, Oakland County – Closed since Aug. 10. officials said storm water runoff was responsible for to high bacteria levels.

10. Independence Lake, Independence Lake County Park, Washtenaw County – Closed since Aug. 10 due to high bacteria levels from an unknown source.

11. Lake St. Clair, St. Clair Shores Memorial Park Beach, Macomb County – contamination advisory since Aug. 11 due to high bacteria levels from an unknown source. This is the beach's fifth time being closed to swimmers this summer, totaling 29 days this summer.

12. Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes-Peterson Road Beach, Benzie County – contamination advisory due to high bacterial levels from an unknown source. According to Beach Guard, this is the first advisory posted at this location since 2014.

The Michigan Public Health Code calls for beach closures if E. coli bacteria levels surpass certain thresholds.

Authorities said current beach closures listed on the site's Beach Guard website are effective immediately and will remain in effect until subsequent testing shows levels are safe for swimming.

Beach Guard initially said 14 beaches were closed as of Friday morning, but updated to reflect two areas, Keweenaw Bay/Lake Superior of L’Anse Waterfront Park in Baraga County and Pontiac Lake of Pontiac Recreation Area in Oakland County, have since tested safe.

E. coli bacteria is known to cause gastrointestinal illness among other health issues, like skin rashes and ear infections.

For more information about beach monitoring in Michigan, please visit michigan.gov/egle.