Contamination closes beach three times this spring
June 10, 2002,
Detroit Free Press
ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (AP) -- Memorial Park's 100-foot
beach is the only one in the Detroit area where swimming
has been banned this year because of contamination.
The beach already has been closed three times because
of high E. coli bacteria levels.
University of Michigan scientists said the bacteria is
coming from the Hetchler Drain, The Detroit News reported
in a Monday story. A computer model of water currents
and wind directions has shown that west wind blew contaminated
water from the storm sewer into Memorial Park.
"We showed that the (contaminant) came from just south
of Memorial Park and was blown into the beach area," naval
architecture and marine engineering professor Guy Meadows
"That was our smoking gun."
Remote control cameras may have to be sent into the drain
to determine the cause of the high E. coli levels.
Cameras could look for illicit connections to the sewer
or other culprits, Macomb Water Quality Board Chairman
Doug Martz said.
"Something has to be wrong," he said. "We thought this
"Years ago, they sent cameras into the drain because
of high bacteria counts and they found an apartment building
that had its sanitary sewer line tied into the Hetchler
Drain," Martz said. The sewer line was disconnected.
Health officials said exposure to high levels of the
E. coli can cause skin rashes, intestinal problems or
Steve Washburn and his family haven't swam at Memorial
Park in eight years.
"The gate guard warned us not to go near the water,"
Washburn said. "It's scary and sad that things had to
turn out like this."
Memorial Park beach was closed to swimming three times
last year, 10 times in 2000 and twice in 1999.