Beach along Lake St. Clair closed due to elevated E. coli levels

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jul 03, 2024

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (WXYZ) — The beach at Veterans Memorial Park in St. Clair Shores is closed due to high levels of bacteria, according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

The Macomb County Health Department said the shape of the beach makes it more likely to harbor pollution.

“I haven’t come too much, but I’ve never seen the beach open,” parkgoer Nancy Kilanowski told 7 News Detroit.

Parkgoer Marsha Sedgeman said, “This beach is never open.”

She went for a walk with a friend, while Kilanowski and several other families brought the kids to enjoy the splash pad.

Lori Nowicki, another parkgoer, explained, “We come here all the time. We don’t like it that the beach is not open. It used to be a long time ago, but I don’t know why it’s not anymore.”

Parkgoer Ruth Higgins said, “Everyone wants to swim here, but they can’t because of the pollution.”

The Macomb County Health Department monitors for elevated E. coli levels at five area beaches. The department said it take two samples a week during the summer months.

“They say too many geese come here. In the morning, there’s like a hundred,” Sedgeman said.

Nowicki said, “Well, the geese have a right to be here too. God created them too.”

Goose poop, as well as that of seagulls, ducks, dogs and deer are some of the sources contributing to elevated bacteria levels, Tom Barnes said. He's the division director of Macomb County’s Environmental Health Services.

Tom Barnes, Macomb County Health Department -- Division Director of Environmental Health Serices.jpg

"Every couple years, it seems to be some years where we have more closures than others, and I think a lot of that still is weather," Barnes explained.

He said rain and wind pushes the fecal matter into the water where, if it lingers long enough, you run into pollution problems and the beach needs to close.

As solutions and mitigation strategies, Barnes said raking the beach, moving the geese population out and keeping trash cans covered are actions to take.

“As far as treatment of the water goes, I don’t see anybody doing any additives or doing anything like that to it. That hasn’t come up and just generally with good beach maintenance practices, you can generally get ahead of it pretty well," Barnes said.

You can find more information on Michigan beach conditions including closures on EGLE's website.