Beach Warning: Signs in Lake Linden advise visitors of contamination

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Sample signage advising against swimming in the drainage creek near the Lake Linden, and advising against disturbing the sediment in the beach area, is seen at the Lake Linden Village Council meeting Thursday.

LAKE LINDEN — The Lake Linden Village Council approved complying with Western Upper Peninsula Health Department recommendations for signage to be placed on the Lake Linden beach area regarding contaminated soil and sediment, as well as placing a rinsing station by the beach pavilion, at its meeting Thursday.

“For the future, we’ll possibly be doing something more permanent, but for now, this will give them the opportunity to do what they need to do,” said President Glenn Schuldt.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services had sent the village information regarding the potential health hazards. DEQ testing had found elevated heavy metal levels in sediments below the lake.

Before recommendations from DHHS arrive, the village will need to put up temporary signage, add a washing station in the beach area, and put up barrier fencing separating the beach area from the drainage creek.

Clerk Bob Poirier said there would be a conference call June 20 to formalize the recommendations for permanent signage.

“All the agencies that have been corresponding with me have basically mirrored this general recommendation,” he said.

Poirier said he had put up some yard sign-style signage warning people of health risks, but also displayed signs ordered online bearing the suggested sample wording. In a memo Tuesday, the Health Department suggested a temporary sign by the drainage creek warning people “not to swim in this area due to potential hazards posed by wastes present in the soil and sediment as a result of historic activities in the area.”

The recommended signage for the beach area contained the same wording about potential hazards. Instead of telling people not to swim, it made four recommendations: parents should monitor children while playing in the beach area; avoid digging in the soil or disturbing the sediment; wash hands before eating at the washing station; avoid tracking soil and sediment away from the beach on one’s body or belongings by using the washing station for rinsing.

The council also agreed to put out swimming buoys and volleyball nets. By now, Poirier said, Lake Linden would usually have buoys out and have additional sand on the beach.

“If we’re advising that you don’t use to the beach without these (precautions), do we still want to prep it like we normally would?” he said.

The council held off on adding sand to the beach until it is known if the EPA will require digging.

“If they’re saying there’s something underneath the sand, why put sand on top of it just for them to remove it?” Schuldt said.