Independence Lake beach reopens after bacteria prompted closure

Health department previously found high levels of E. coli bacteria in water

People on a Michigan beach. (ERIC BARADAT, ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

WEBSTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Independence Lake beach has reopened after Washtenaw County officials closed it temporarily due to high levels of bacteria.

The Washtenaw County Health Department found high levels of E. coli bacteria in the water during routine testing. Officials reopened the beach around noon Thursday after follow-up tests showed the bacteria levels were safe for swimming.

Elevated levels of E. coli can be caused by a mixture of recent rainstorms and an unusually high number of ducks and geese on the beaches, officials said. Bird feces can be washed into the lakes by stormwater.

E. coli bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illness. It’s especially a concern for people with weakened immune systems.

For updates, visit and click on Independence Lake County Park. Anyone with questions or who might have gotten sick after swimming in the water is asked to call the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division at 734-222-3800 or visit

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