Public Bathing Beach Safety Monitoring

Public beach
The Health Department's Beach Monitoring Program evaluates the water quality at 50 area beaches annually, throughout Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego Counties.

For more than a decade, water quality monitoring has been conducted on both Lake Michigan and Inland Lake beaches in the region. This important work was made possible through grant funding from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Those who live on or near the lake, and seasonal tourists who visit and enjoy Northern Michigan's unspoiled beaches, have come to trust that the water quality is being monitored for their safety. The monitoring program has been successful in protecting public health, and has also supported the economic benefit of having clean, safe swimming areas.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan continues to pursue competitive funding mechanisms to provide the most comprehensive program possible. In 2015, The Health Department was awarded an innovative grant to conduct a 2-year pilot study of a rapid testing technology which has the potential to provide results within a few hours. The Northern Michigan Regional Laboratory, operated by the Health Department, received sophisticated equipment to evaluate surface water by isolating the DNA of viable E.coli organisms to determining risk to beach goers. This project should be completed in early 2017. Through a MDEQ supported web-based program, the public has real-time access to beach water quality results for beaches all over Michigan. Information can be found at www.deq.state.mi.us/beach/.