Scotch Lake Residents Beach, pictured during a previous summer, is currently closed due to an E. coli contamination.

Scotch Lake Residents Beach, pictured during a previous summer, is currently closed due to an E. coli contamination.

File photo by Deb Jacques

Scotch Lake closed due to heightened bacteria

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published July 6, 2018


WEST BLOOMFIELD — West Bloomfield residents looking for a day at the beach should be careful before going. A local lake has been closed due to heightened bacteria.

Scotch Lake Residents Beach, in West Bloomfield, was recently closed due to high levels of E. coli bacteria found in the water. The Oakland County Health Division oversees Scotch Lake and other lakes in the area, conducting water testing and quality assurance through its beach monitoring program. 

“The Oakland County Health Division has staff that collect water samples at beaches that are publicly used,” said Shannon Briggs, of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Resources Division. “For the Scotch Lake Residents Beach, the testing results have come back high above water quality standards.”

The lake was closed June 26. 

“This year, the beaches are being sampled weekly,” said Mark Hansell, programs chief of environmental health with the OCHD. “If we see elevated levels of bacteria, we continue to sample every day until those levels get back down to a safe swimming level.” 

Hansell said the OCHD believes the elevated bacteria is from duck and goose excrement on the beach. 

“We have a large number of ducks and geese that like this area,” he said. “They defecate on the beach. ... Anytime we have significant rainfall, it gets washed into the water.” 

Scotch Lake is the only beach monitored by the Oakland County Health Division that is currently closed. According to the Health Division’s website, the beach will be closed indefinitely until the levels of bacteria go down.

“For Oakland County to only have one closure is amazing,” said Briggs. “There are 160 public beaches and over 100 private beaches in Oakland County.” 

The county will continue to conduct daily testing until acceptable levels of bacteria in the water are reached. The county tests in two ways — a day-to-day average of 300 colonies per 100 milliliters of water and a 30-day average of 130 colonies per 100 milliliters.

The Health Division conducts water testing every summer from June 4 to Aug. 10 and tests 75 public beaches on 61 lakes in Oakland County. The Health Division is required to report results of every water test to the DEQ, which are available to view at the DEQ’s BeachGuard website. 

Homeowners who live on or near Scotch Lake, or any lake, can test their private lakefront or the public beach they frequently use for swimming.

Test results from a nearby beach do not necessarily reflect on a different beach on the same lake or one on a different but nearby lake. 

Homeowners can buy sampling kits from the Health Division for $6. 

Call the Oakland County Health Division at (248) 858-1312 for more information.