Elevated lead levels and heavy metals found on popular beach

Elevated lead levels and heavy metals found on popular beach

HUBBELL — Signs warning the public about potential health risks are now posted at a popular beach in Hubbell.

Is it safe to go in the water or is it not? Residents have been enjoying the beach in Hubbell for years while different agencies conducted tests and cleanup projects. The most recent report from the Michigan Department of Community Health expressed concerns over their findings.

“The results of their study showed that there were some elevated lead levels above the safety level they recommend just below the surface of the sand and some concerns of potentially other heavy metals in the sand and the water area,” said Torch Lake Township Supervisor Brian Cadwell. “Also, there was some physical hazards that would wash up out of the old dump and come to the shore. There was some broken glass. We have tried to maintain that on a daily basis by walking the shoreline and picking that up out of the water.”

The report was inconclusive on whether it was safe to swim at the beach but the Township board would rather err on the side of caution.

“I did ask if they recommended we close the beach and they said it was a local political decision,” said Cadwell. “So, we took the step of instead of closing the beach, putting up signs warning folks that may use the beach that there is historical uses here that may pose potential hazards.”

Further testing is recommended by the state and if those tests were to indicate a danger to the public, then the beaches will be closed.

Health officials say that their concerns are not limited to the Hubbell Beach area so if you decide to swim anywhere in Torch Lake, signs or no signs, you swim at your own risk.