HOUGHTON, BARAGA, AND ONTONAGON COUNTIES – Western U.P. Health Department has confirmed that surface water samples collected at designated swimming beaches on Portage Lake, the Portage Waterway, and Lake Superior (L’Anse, Ontonagon, east of the North Canal Entry) have high levels of E.coli and fecal coliform bacteria in exceedance of Michigan DEQ and U.S. EPA standards for body contact.
The public is still advised to have no water contact in Lake Superior, Portage Waterway, Torch Lake, or inland lakes in the Western U.P. until further testing determines specific beaches and bodies of water are safe for use. Do not swim, fish, or use small watercraft such as canoe, kayak, or paddle boards where there is likelihood of water contact. The heavy rains, flooding, erosion, and sewer overflows have significantly compromised surface water quality to the point of not being safe.
Health Department staff continue to monitor surface water quality throughout Houghton County and the Western Upper Peninsula and will update the public as conditions change. Beach advisories will be removed as safe test results are received. As of today, the only beach that has been tested and determined safe is Second Sand Beach on Lake Superior in L’Anse Township, Baraga County. If you have questions regarding swimming safety, contact Tanya Rule, WUPHD Environmental Health Director, at (906) 482-7382.