Torch Lake water tested for contamination

TORCH LAKE — Tests on Torch Lake have revealed contamination on the beach and Lake Linden officials are taking immediate and proper actions. Ten years ago, low lake levels exposed stamp sands around the water’s edge on Torch Lake. When the Department of Environmental Quality tested those stands, they found contamination. This launched a clean up of the beach near the stormwater outlet by the EPA, who then conducted more tests. Two months ago, the EPA report was presented to the village. The results showed contamination of arsenic, lead and mercury in the sediment.

“It describes two areas of testing in the local bay here. The first area, we’ve cornered off with fencing. People are recommended not to go inside that fencing. It’s not the swimming
area, it’s an area of underbrush adjacent to the swimming area,” said Robert Poirier, Lake Linden Village Clerk.

As for the swimming area, village officials are taking immediate action as to what the EPA recommends.

Poirier added, “the EPA, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Western U.P. Health Department have developed some recommendations as fas as signage and recommended that we put in facilities, such as the hand washing station and the shower to let the public know what the hazards are there.”

The signs posted on the beach near Lake Linden Campground are intended to let people know about the hazards pertaining to the sediment, not the water.

“The Village said the water is still safe to swim in, and you can even play in the sand, as long as you take proper precautions.”

These precautions include not digging too deep in the sand, closely watching children on the beach and utilizing the hand washing and shower stations, especially before eating. Water fountains and other water supplies in the campground and other park facilities are not impacted by this study and are safe to drink.