The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Sunday Lake, other area beaches closed due to E.coli


June 23, 2018

Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe

A SIGN warns against swimming in Wakefield's Sunday Lake Friday, where the beach is closed until further notice due to high E.coli levels as a result of run-off from last weekend's storms.

WAKEFIELD - The beach at Sunday Lake is closed until further notice because of potentially high levels of E.coli bacteria.

"Please be aware that the Beach at Sunday Lake is closed until further notice," reads a short post on the city of Wakefield's Facebook page. "We received notification from the Western U.P. Health Department stating NO swimming, fishing, or kayaking at this time."

An accompanying picture references E.coli and warns against ingesting lake water.

According to information on the health department's webpage, all beaches in the western U.P. remain closed to recreational use.

"(The) Western U.P. Health Department has confirmed that surface water samples collected at inland lakes and Lake Superior beaches still have high levels of E.coli and/or fecal coliform bacteria in exceedance of Michigan DEQ and U.S. EPA standards for body contact," the department's site reads. "The presence of E.coli and fecal coliforms means that the water has been contaminated by animal and/or human waste and exposure carries a significant health risk."

Any possible contamination appears to be related to the weekend's storms, when heavy rains caused flooding across parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and the U.P.

"Do not swim, fish, or use small watercraft such as canoe, kayak, or paddleboards where there is likelihood of water contact. The heavy rains, flooding, erosion, and sewer overflows have significantly compromised surface water quality to the point of not being safe," the warning says.

The department continues to monitor local beaches to test surface water quality.

According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's website, there are 23 beach closures or advisories in the state. Along with Sunday Lake, Lake Gogebic County Park, Bergland Township Park, both the Ontonagon County Parks on Lake Gogebic and the campground on Lake Superior and the Union Bay beach in the Porcupine Mountains State Park are among those listed on the DEQ website.

People with questions regarding swimming safety can contact WUPHD Environmental Health Director Tanya Rule at 906-482-7382.


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