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Tests show Lake St. Clair substance that alarmed neighbors is algae, E. coli

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

An unknown frozen substance found this week on a seawall off Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township has E. coli in it but is not harmful to the public, Macomb County health officials said Friday.

County officials confirmed the substance is "decaying filamentous algae with E. coli counts that present no imminent public health hazard and are not indicative of raw sewage."

They look like tiny rocks from a distance, but in Harrison Township, the shoreline along the boat launch at the Clinton River Cut Off is covered in hairy, pebble-like debris that when smashed has a green and black felty interior.

The testing came earlier this week after residents complained of the smelly green and black material they encountered and feared was harmful.

Candice Miller, Macomb County public works commissioner, said she thought the material may have been the result of "organic material" due to sewer overflows from Oakland County.

Oakland officials said they thought it was highly unlikely.

They look like tiny rocks from a distance, but in Harrison Township, the shoreline along the boat launch at the Clinton River Cut Off is covered in hairy, pebble-like debris that when smashed has a green and black felty interior.

Harrison Township resident Joe Solomon, who lives long the lake, said he had never seen such a substance before.

"When we first moved in here 25 years ago, we had a beautiful beach," Solomon said. "Now, I haven't been able to use it for eight years" because of naturally occurring algae.

lfleming@detroitnews.com

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