Washtenaw County Health Department and the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission are closing Independence Lake beach at Independence Lake County Park due to high levels of E. coli bacteria. Independence Lake is in Webster Township and operated by Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, 3200 Jennings Road, Whitmore Lake. The high levels were detected through routine testing done at public bathing beaches during the summer months. The closure is effective immediately and will remain in effect until follow-up tests show the levels are considered safe for swimming. Although the public beach at Independence Lake County Park is closed to swimming, other forms of recreation that do not involve body contact with the water, like fishing, are permitted. For updates, visit washtenaw.org and click on Independence Lake.
The Michigan Public Health Code allows for public beach closures if E. coli bacteria levels exceed set thresholds. E. coli bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illness and are a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems. Elevated levels of E. coli bacteria may have been caused by a mixture of recent rainstorms and an unusually high amount of ducks and geese on the beaches. Bird feces can be washed into the lakes by stormwater. Individuals with questions or concerns regarding public beach water sampling, or those who believe they may have become ill after swimming in the impacted waters, are encouraged to call the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division at 734-222-3800 during normal business hours, or visit www.washtenaw.org/envhealth. For the most updated information on public beaches, as well as a listing of water sample results, please visit the Michigan BeachGuard website at www.egle.state.mi.us/beach.