Huron County beaches tested for E.coli during the summer for safety

The Huron County Health Department has started its routine sampling of bathing beach waters for this year.

The sampling looks for dangerous levels of E. coli in the water and monitors the bacteria. If needed the health department will close beaches until they are deemed safe. A press release stated that sampling was scheduled to be collected once a week beginning on June 5 and going through Aug. 29. 

Thirteen beaches from White Rock to Sebewaing are sampled with three samples collected each time at around 3 to 6 feet deep of water. 

“(E. coli levels) can fluctuate a lot depending on rainfall, runoff, and wind direction and speed,” said Tip MacGuire, health officer and environmental health director for the Huron County Health Department. “Last year we had a total of 10 closures at five different beaches during the whole bathing season.” 

The level that they are searching for is 300 E. coli colonies in 100 ml of water (around half a cup of water). Any sample of water with that level or higher would cause a beach to be closed down until levels are back to a safe standard, which is set by the state.

“E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria indicate that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes,” said MacGuire “Drinking water with these wastes can cause short-term illness, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms.”

E. coli enters the water several ways, whether it is through industrial discharge, agricultural/urban/stormwater runoff, watercraft activities, and eroded soil just to name a few. The press release notes that most strands of E. coli are not dangerous, however it can indicate the presence of other disease-causing bacteria.

The health department says that residents can help by monitoring their sewage disposal systems, properly disposing of pet waste, not overusing municipal and private sewage disposal, and properly disposing of household and automotive chemicals. On the agriculture side, it advises avoiding using pesticides and herbicides near waterways, disposing of grass clippings and leaves by mulching or composing, and fencing livestock to prevent access to streams. 

For more information, contact the Huron County Health Department online at or by calling the environmental health services division at 989-269-3308. Michigan beach closures are also posted online through


Back To Top