Swimming allowed at Silver Beach after E. Coli readings drop to safe level

Published: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (WNDU) -The Silver Beach swimming advisory is lifted after the most recent water samples came back with acceptable levels of E. Coli.

Now folks are cooling off in the waters of Lake Michigan.

The advisory went into effect Tues. around 3:00 P.M., but by 10:30 A.M. the next morning the Berrien County Health Department said it was safe to swim at Silver Beach.

These high bacteria levels typically stick around for less than two days before naturally diluting away.

Safe E. Coli levels for swimming max out around 300 parts per 100 milliliters of water.

The Berrien County Health Department measured 2000 E. Coli per 100 milliliters of water on Monday.

That’s nearly seven times the limit deemed safe for swimming.

Now those levels are back to an acceptable amount, but you should still avoid swallowing water when you swim anywhere along the lakeshore.

“It’s never a good idea to drink the water from Lake Michigan, so if you’re going to be swimming anywhere, best not to swallow that water,” said Berrien County Health Department communication specialist Gillian Conrad.

Conrad says these E. Coli spikes are not uncommon.

Silver Beach shut down swimming due to high bacteria levels for one day in 2020, and three days in 2019.

“It’s not uncommon that we see these higher E. Coli readings a couple of times throughout the summer, especially after we’ve had some weather patterns come through with heavy rains or wind that might churn up some of that water, and the sediment at the bottom of the lake causing some of those higher readings,” Conrad said.

The splash pad across from Silver Beach isn’t pumping out lake water, so it’s a great alternative the next time there’s a high E. Coli reading.

The Berrien County Health Department samples the water for bacteria up and down the coastline weekly. You can see where to find their weekly results by following this link.

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