Washtenaw County beach shuts down again due to high levels of bacteria

Swimmers at Independence Lake beach on July 14, 2019. (Meredith Bruckner)

WHITMORE LAKE, Mich. – Independence Lake beach has been closed for swimming until further notice by the Washtenaw County Health Department and the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission due to high levels of E. coli bacteria.

The beach is located in Independence Lake County Park in Webster Township.

Routine testing revealed elevated levels of the bacteria at public bathing beaches. The beach will reopen once follow-up tests confirm levels are low enough to safely swim again.

Other forms of recreation -- like fishing -- at the park that do not involve direct contact with the water are permitted at this time.

For updates on the closure, visit washtenaw.org.

E. coli bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illness and symptoms include diarrhea, sever stomach cramps and vomiting. People with weakened immune systems are at heightened risk of becoming ill.

This is the third time officials have closed Independence Lake beach this summer due to high levels of the bacteria. Each year, heavy rain can cause bird feces to wash into the lakes and create unsafe water for swimming.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.