The Northwest Michigan Department of Health is looking for answers as local beaches have been receiving partial physical contact advisories since late August.
High E. coli levels are not uncommon at Berea’s Richardie Park Beach, but this year the levels were high and have persisted longer than health officials expected.
“As far as I know, the level has never been above 300, and it has never remained above 300 to this day,” admits Casey Clement, Environmental Health Coordinator for the Department of Health. increase.
E. coli levels below 300 are safe for whole body contact, but between 300 and 1,000 are considered safe for partial contact.
In the past, faeces left by waterfowl have been responsible for elevated E. coli levels, but now health officials say they don’t know if anything else could be to blame.
“I’m not sure. I think we’ll be able to learn a lot more by doing that source tracing on the water samples,” Clement hopes.
The Department of Health collected additional samples from the mouths of the Intermediate and Cedar Rivers in an attempt to pinpoint higher-level causes.
“Our department is saving those samples and will be doing a source trace later this winter to see if we can pinpoint the source of that E. coli.
Health officials say they don’t know when they will know their E. coli levels, but they say they will keep people updated on their website.