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Park Lake under E. Coli advisory

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 7:05 PM EDT
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BATH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - The Mid-Michigan Health Department conducts beach monitoring every year, but never before in Clinton County due to a lack of funding.

Thanks to extra money from the state, they were able to check the area for the first time this year. The first to be checked for E. Coli was Park Lake, and the results are worrisome.

The testing began last week, part of those tests were to ensure water in lakes was within the water quality advisory limit for E. Coli levels in the state of Michigan, which is 300 per 100 milliliters. Liz Braddock, Environmental Health Director for the Mid-Michigan Health Dept., told News 10 that the diagnoses wasn’t good for one local lake.

Braddock said, “We had an average of 450 at Park Lake.”

Those levels put Bath Township’s Park Lake in the critical classification.

Braddock said, “And it was considered that we should possibly post it as a water advisory of the water quality in the lake.” The cause of the E. Coli in park lake is unknown, but the bacteria itself originates from feces. Dr. Shannon Briggs is a toxicologist for Michigan EGLE.

Briggs said, “E. Coli is used as an indicator of fecal contamination, which can come from humans, birds, cats, dogs, livestock, any kind of human waste or manure.”

Some residents like Loretta Johnson have swam there over the last few weeks, not feeling the symptoms and surprised about it.

“It was kind of mind blowing because there’s not just my family that goes, but our relatives join us there,” Johnson said. “There’s at least 25 to 30 of us that go. None of us have gotten sick. Usually with E. Coli and stuff like that, usually somebody is going to get sick.”

But it is common to get symptoms for young children, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems who are at the greatest risk.

Braddock said, “People may get sick, may have some gastrointestinal issues if they are swimming in waters that have a high E. Coli levels.”

The health department is in discussion with bath township that if the elevated E. Coli continues, they will consider closing the swimming area of the beach. But for now, it’s an advisory.

Braddock said, “We don’t know what it was. We hope, as we move through the season, the results will decrease and we will also remove the advisory and people can enjoy the lake again.”

The health department came back Wednesday and resampled to try to find the source of the DNA that has impacted the E.Coli levels.

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