Recreational Water

Recreational Water


Beach monitoring program

The Mid-Michigan District Health Department (MMDHD) received a grant to monitor a select number of inland lake beaches in its district for E. coli and to inform the public of sample results.  Sampling will begin in early June and will extend into August.  Samples will be collected weekly with results posted on the Department of Environmental Quality's Beach Guard website (see website link below).  Sample results above the full body contact standards will prompt beaches being posted advising the public the water does not meet standards for swimming.  Beach operators will be advised of high results and provided any recommendations for corrective action.  This project will result in the public being better informed and made aware of beach water quality and to assure a safe and healthy recreational experience at public beaches.

The Department of Environmental Quality's Beach Guard website allows you to see beach monitoring results for beaches tested statewide. Just click on the county you are interested in. This website also allows you to view the beaches that have been closed or posted with an advisory against swimming; this information is located on the main page. In order to close or post an advisory for a beach, the data results for E.coli contamination must exceed 300 E.coli per 100 milliliters of water for one single sampling event. The closure or advisory is lifted after the results from sampling indicated levels of E.coli have fallen below the contamination level. If you have any questions concerning the sample results posted on this website, please contact your local branch office of the Mid-Michigan District Health Department:

  • Clinton County Branch Office: 989-224-2195
  • Gratiot County Branch Office: 989-875-3681
  • Montcalm County Branch Office: 989-831-5237

Beach is not monitored sign


Harmful algal blooms

Cyanobacteria (cy·a·no·bac·te·ri·a), also known as blue-green algae, are a natural part of lakes, rivers, and ponds. Unfortunately, some species can produce toxins, called cyanotoxins (cy·a·no·tox·ins), that can make humans and animals sick. When conditions are right, these organisms can rapidly increase to form cyanobacteria blooms, or HABs. These blooms can last a few days, weeks or longer and are considered harmful because they may contain toxins. A bloom can start small and become very large in size and can give off a foul odor.

Not all algal blooms contain toxins, but it is difficult to tell by looking at a bloom if it is harmful. Also, the amount of toxins in a bloom can change over time. HABs can be a variety of colors such as blue, green, blue-green, brown, white, purple, or red. HABs can look like scums in the water that may have small flecks, foams, or globs and mats floating in it. The water can also look like it has spilled paint or a green sheen on the surface. When in doubt, keep yourself and pets out.

These resources will provide additional information on harmful algal blooms:

EGLE harmful algal bloom webpage
Algal bloom prevention
Algal blooms: before you jump in