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
Water Related Health Concerns
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.
Swimmer’s Itch, caused by parasites that live in many Michigan lakes, can cause severe itching and red rash that can occur after you go swimming or wading in water outdoors. Also known as cercarial dermatitis, swimmer’s itch is most common in freshwater lakes and ponds, but it occasionally occurs in salt water.
E.coliO157:H7 (Ee KOE-lye) is one of the hundreds of strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli. Most strains are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals. However, this strain, O157:H7, produces a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness. The bacteria can be found on a small number of cattle farms and can live in the intestines of healthy cattle.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.
Legionnaire’s Disease, also known as Legionellosis, is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by any type of Legionella bacteria. Legionella bacteria is usually contracted by breathing in mist from water that contains the bacteria. The mist may come from hot tubs, showers, fountains, or air-conditioning units for large buildings. The bacteria are not spread from person to person.
- ANSI/ASHRAE Guidelines
- Legionella Guidelines, Standards, and Regulations
- Legionnaire's Disease Explained (CDC)
MI-TOXICS and Health Hotline:
Call 800-648-6942 during normal business hours to have a toxicologist answer questions about contaminants in the home and in the environment.
EGLE Pollution Emergency Alerting System Hotline:
Call 800-292-4706 any time to report spills, releases, or other environmental emergencies involving air, land, water, groundwater, wetlands, dams, landfills, hazardous radioactive materials, mines, public drinking water, oil and gas wells, and nuclear power plants.