July 9, 2014 at 4:30 pm

E.coli contamination closes 2 Macomb County beaches

Mount Clemens— Two Macomb beaches were closed Wednesday due to high levels of e.coli bacteria.

The Macomb County Public Health Department reports beaches at Lake St. Clair Metropark and New Baltimore Park are unsafe for swimmers.

There are a variety of sources that contribute to elevated e.coli levels including storm run-off, malfunctioning septic systems and wild and domestic animal waste.

“There is no way to know where it came from, certainly the levels tend to increase in wet weather,” said Gary White, Macomb County Health Department deputy health officer.

The health department monitors the levels of Escherichia coli (e.coli) bacteria at six public beaches throughout Macomb.

White said the beaches could open as early as Thursday or it may take up to two days.

“We will continue monitoring, as we have always done, when the levels return back to normal,” White said. “They typically do when you get the normal dilution from rainfall and sunlight. The bacteria tends to die back.”

Swimming in unsafe water could result in minor illnesses such as sore throats or diarrhea, according to the county health department’s website. Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk for illness.

Beachgoers should avoid swimming for two days after heavy rains and look for indicators of water pollution such as discolored water, fast flowing and strong smelling drains and/or street litter floating in water.

For information on beach closings in the county visit www.macombcountymi.gov/publichealth/eh/beachconditions.htm

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