UPDATE: Lions Park Beach is now safe for swimming
ST. JOSEPH, Mich. —
Lions Park Beach is now safe for swimming.
The health department got new test results Wednesday afternoon . The E.coli levels were low enough to open the beach.
The water at Lions Park Beach tested high for E. coli on Tuesday prompting St. Joseph to close the beach to swimmers.
Mary Beth Hollinger and her two daughters showed up Tuesday morning hoping for a relaxing day at Lions Park Beach.
"We love Lions Beach because it's not so overpopulated like Silver. Everybody goes to Silver Beach down the street and we like that we're not on top of each other and we kind of have the beach to ourselves," said Hollinger.
But after lugging all their beach gear from Granger, they were welcomed by a sign saying “No swimming due to elevated levels of bacteria.”
"A little disappointed for sure just because we didn't know. I guess I haven't seen or heard anything to know that it's not safe for them to be in the water, so we will explore other options today," said Hollinger.
They didn't have to go far to find another beach. The water at Silver Beach was open less than a mile down the road.
Which seemed odd to beach-goer Candy McIntosh.
"I'm like well Lions Park is not that far from Silver Beach and Silver Beach isn't closed so what's up with that?” said McIntosh.
St. Joseph's public works director says the water testing can be unpredictable.
"It does seem to be kind of random, and you can get a high hit at one location and just a short distance away not," said Tom MacDonald.
The Berrien County Health Department tests the water every week.
A bacteria level over 300 parts per million is considered unsafe.
Lions Park Beach was closed because its level was 400. Silver Beach was only 22.
The health department will keep testing, but it's unlikely the city will ever know what caused the bacteria in the first place.
"It's a Great Lake, and there's a lot of things that influence water quality," said MacDonald.