The Public Health Advisory for the Grand River in Ionia County is being downgraded.
Officials say residents can go boating or fishing downstream of Portland in Ionia County.
The Ionia County Health Department downgraded the ‘No Body Contact’ advisory to a ‘partial body contact’ advisory earlier today.
The Health Department still strongly recommends avoiding full immersion in water or consuming river water.
After the Ionia County Health Department issued a No Body Contact advisory yesterday, the City of Portland arranged for water samples to be taken and results to be expedited. The E. coli results from those samples produced a geometric mean of 352 E. coli/100 mL.
The original advisory followed an 8-week study of E. coli on the Grand River which revealed high levels of the bacteria. Those results found 1181 E. coli/100 mL which is well above the water quality standard during this time of year of between 130-300 E. coli/100 mL.
The water quality standard is more conservative during the summer to protect swimmers during total body contact, but water is protected all year round by the partial body contact standard.
Further testing by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is expected on June 10th and throughout the summer.
Escherichia coli, or E. coli, is a type of bacteria that is used by the State of Michigan as a water quality indicator. When E. coli is found in surface waters, it means that there has been fecal contamination.
E. coli can infect humans through ingestion or skin contact and cause diarrhea, giardia, hepatitis, or cholera.
While E. coli itself is harmful to human health as a water quality indicator it means other disease causing organisms might also be present.