September 2, 2014
our view

Solve E. Coli problem before it’s too late

Posted 11/4/09

Unemployment and struggling local economies are pretty much universal in Michigan, and here it’s no exception, but Arenac County can’t afford to be known as the county with E. Coli in its water.

As long as the Saginaw Bay is known for being clean and pristine along the county’s coast, swimmers, campers, fishermen and boaters will frequent the bay, and many will either stop or stay in Arenac County, no matter what shape the economy is in.

But word of mouth travels fast, and a fisherman who sees a “Do not swim” sign at the Singing Bridge Public Access, where Health Department tests showed high levels of E. Coli all summer, will tell a friend or fishing buddy. And while fishing isn’t prohibited at these sites where the bacteria was found to be present, it’s doubtful a whole family would frequent the public access. It’s also doubtful that some sort of stigma wouldn’t be built up around the Singing Bridge Public Access.

Plus, E. Coli was discovered, albeit not for the duration of the summer like at the Singing Bridge site, at three other beaches in the county.

Not good news.

For the sake of tourism, the county cannot have a reputation of E. Coli infested waters.

The Saginaw Bay is a major draw to the area; so let’s hope the Michigan DNRE (formerly DEQ and DNR), Central Michigan District Health Department, Whitney Intercounty Drainage Board and Whitney Township Board can come out of the Nov. 11 meeting with a plan to find the source of E. Coli, and more importantly, a way to fight the E. Coli.

Because one thing’s for sure, if the county’s reputation centers on bacteria in its greatest tourist attraction, there’s no attraction at all.

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