E. coli levels high at some Grand Traverse Bay beaches

TRAVERSE CITY β€” Grand Traverse County health officials issued E. coli advisory warnings at some Grand Traverse Bay beaches for the second consecutive week.

E. coli levels at the Traverse City State Park beach and Senior Center beach surpassed Michigan Department of Environmental Quality bacteria standards for body contact, according to testing results released Thursday. West End beach’s E. coli levels met DEQ standards for wading, fishing and boating, but contact above the waist was not advised.

The tests prompted health officials to issue water contact warnings for the second time in as many weeks. Samples taken Aug. 19 indicated Traverse City’s Sunset Park and the Senior Center beach were found to be unsafe for contact above the waist.

Thomas Buss, director of environmental health and animal control for the Grand Traverse County Health Department, said this week’s elevated levels likely resulted from recent heavy rains and north winds, which tend to push any storm drain runoff back toward shore rather than out to the bay’s deeper areas.

Such problems are most common in late summer, Buss said.

“It can be wind directions, it can be rain amounts,” he said. “(Thursday) I believe it’s probably a result of rain and north winds.”

Buss said all other county beaches tested below E. coli concern levels.

All Benzie and Leelanau counties beaches also tested below E. coli concerns this week,

E. coli testing results prior to last week had been clean for the past eight weeks, an unusual clean streak for Grand Traverse County beaches.

Officials gathered additional testing samples from Grand Traverse beaches on Thursday. Buss said the health department will update testing results Friday.

“We would suspect we would have results probably by mid-day,” he said.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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