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Pathogens are in beaches across Michigan

 A Lake
Rebecca Williams/Michigan Radio
A Lake

Dangerous bacteria has been detected in different beaches all over the state

Areport by the Environment America Research & Policy Center found many Michigan beaches are closing due to the recent discovery of mass amounts of bacteria in the water.

The bacteria is dangerous to swimmers and can contain fecal matter from runoff, sewage overflows, and factory farming.

The fecal matter can cause gastrointestinal, respiratory, eye, ear, nose, and throat irritation; skin diseases; impairment of cells of the digestive tract and organs; and life-threatening infections in people with depressed immune systems.

Last year 90 Michigan beaches were deemed unsafe for swimming at some time during the season.

The report recommends major investments to stop sewage overflows and runoff pollution.

The federal bipartisan infrastructure law, which was created in 2022, allocates $76,528,000 to Michigan’s sewage and storm water, but more work will need to be done for correcting Michigan’s sewage and runoff pollution problems.

Clean Water Director John Rumpler said, “Sewage overflows or animal waste from factory farms either way if you're talking about manure from animals or your talking about human waste that's not treated that often contains pathogens, viruses, parasites that can make us sick.”

He continued saying, “Stormwater is entering into the same pipes as sewage so when we have heavy rains and runoffs it flows into that same sewage system and overwhelms and that's how we get combined sewer overflows. The way we stop that problem is to absorb stormwater on sight.”

Toussaint joined Michigan Radio in June 2022 as a newsroom intern and is currently working in his second summer. He is a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C., majoring in journalism and minoring in Afro-American Studies.