Bathing Beach Information

The water at the beach looks clean, but is it? You can find out before you or your children go swimming at the Escanaba or Gladstone bathing beaches.

Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties (Public Health) has begun sampling the Escanaba and Gladstone bathing beaches for the 2004 recreation season with funding provided by a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Bathing Beach Monitoring Grant. Public Health's Bathing Beach Monitoring Program will be conducted in cooperation with the City of Escanaba Water Treatment Plant Laboratory and the Parks and Recreation Departments of the City of Escanaba and the City of Gladstone.

The bathing beaches will be sampled weekly to determine the water quality. In addition, samples will be collected after significant rains to ensure pollutants flushed through storm drains and running off adjacent properties are not causing degradation of the water at the beaches.

Swimming or playing in unsafe water may result in illness. Children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems have a greater chance of getting sick when they come in contact with contaminated water. The beach monitoring program will sample water for the number of E.coli organisms. E.coli is present in the intestines of warm blooded animals and as such is considered an indicator of sewage contamination from humans or other warm blooded animals. At higher levels, the likelihood of developing an illness after swimming increases. The levels at which Public Health would issue an advisory are:

  • a 30 day geometric mean of 130 E.coli organisms per 100 mL of water or
  • a one day geometric means of 300 E.coli organisms per 100 mL of water

The Bathing Beach Monitoring Grant also funded the purchase of equipment to quickly analyze surface water for E.coli bacteria. Public Health donated the equipment to the Escanaba Water Treatment Plant Laboratory. Michael R. Snyder, RS, Public Health Environmental Health Supervisor, states, "With this equipment, we'll know the water quality by the next day. If you have to wait three to four days for results from the lab and the E.coli level is high, the problem has probably resolved itself before the beach can be closed. Now, Public Health will be able to issue an advisory the next day and the cities can act upon those advisories immediately by closing the affected beach."

Public Health posts the sampling results and advisories to MDEQ's beach website where the public can review the information at any time. The MDEQ's beach website has information about beaches throughout the state.

The links provided below will take you directly to the beach website's information page for the beach you select.

For more information on Public Health's Bathing Beach Monitoring Program, contact the Environmental Health Division, (906)786-9692.