Detroit/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on June 22, 2024
Swimming Advisory Issued for Oval Beach in Saugatuck Due to High E. coli LevelsSource: Google Street View

Beachgoers in Saugatuck, Michigan, looking to cool off during the warmer months should think twice before taking a dip at Oval Beach. Following a routine test revealing high levels of E. coli, the Allegan County Health Department has issued a no-swimming advisory.

The health department suggests avoiding any "total body contact with the water at this time," as high bacteria levels detected earlier in the week have raised serious health concerns. Randy Rapp, Environmental Health Services Manager mentioned, "We got the results back on Tuesday that there was an exceedance at Oval Beach," in a statement obtained by WZZM13. It has been suggested that natural fecal matter or potential construction runoff may have been contributing factors to the spike in bacteria levels.

Oval Beach isn't alone in facing this issue, though. Across the state, 14 beaches have been flagged for elevated bacteria levels by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, as ClickOnDetroit reports, with most closures linked to runoff from recent stormy weather.

Despite the advisory, Oval Beach still saw a significant number of visitors, prompting the Health Department to reiterate preventive measures against recreational water illnesses. These include keeping pets off the beach, not swimming in foul-smelling or murky water, avoiding water-contact post-heavy rain, and not swallowing lake water. According to a statement released by ACHD and reported by WOODTV, the latest E. coli tests from June 17 showed bacteria levels at approximately 2,400 per 100 milliliters, well above the acceptable water quality standard of 300 bacteria per 100 milliliters.

Measures to minimize the risk of illness include showering as soon as possible upon returning home and practising good hygiene such as washing hands with soap and water before eating. The recent test results and ongoing advisories are continually updated on the EGLE BeachGuard website, helping residents stay informed about water quality at their local beaches.