ST. JOSEPH — Swimming is once again permitted at Silver Beach.
A day after a contamination advisory was put in place for the county park, the Berrien County Health Department lifted the swimming restriction around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
The advisory was put in place Tuesday afternoon after elevated levels of E. coli were discovered in the water along Silver Beach through routine testing.
Gillian Conrad, spokesperson for the BCHD, said samples that were taken Monday produced higher than desired bacteria levels that is acceptable for body contact.
An advisory is normally put into place once testing of the water exceeds the limit of 300 E. coli per 100 milliliters of water. The readings taken Monday at Silver Beach produced 2,000 E. coli per 100ml.
Conrad said there have not been any other high readings this season for the rest of the beaches that are monitored by the county.
The health department reiterated its advice Wednesday to people who are swimming to avoid swallowing water, refrain from using the lake as a bathroom, and to wash their hands after swimming before eating.
This is the third year in a row that Silver Beach restricted swimming for at least one day due to high bacteria levels.
A contamination advisory was in effect for the beach on May 19, 2020, where swimming wasn’t allowed for the day. In August 2019, Silver Beach restricted swimming for three days while officials waited for E. coli levels to decrease.
According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality website, Escherichia coli bacteria live in the digestive systems of humans and other warm-blooded animals and can cause illness if swallowed.
Sources include illicit waste connections to storm sewers or roadside ditches, septic systems, combined and sanitary sewer overflows, rain runoff, wild domestic animal waste and agriculture runoff.
Information about beach conditions and closings is at www.deq.state.mi.us/beach.