USACE pauses Grand Haven dredging in response to E.coli concerns

The USACE Detroit District is pausing dredging in Grand Haven, Michigan, in response to Ottawa County Health Department’s “no-contact order” for North Park Beach after preliminary testing found E.coli concentrations in the area.

Photo by Ryan Armbrustmacher, USACE

Dredging will be paused in the area until testing results show the E.coli levels have naturally dissipated, said USACE.

Holland-based King Co. Inc., under an Army Corps contract, is currently dredging in Grand Haven Harbor to remove 141,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Grand Haven Harbor federal navigation channel.

The dredging was expected to be completed in mid to late July.

The material is being placed at an area north of the harbor, which includes the shoreline at Ottawa County North Beach Park, in accordance with a water quality certificate issued by Michigan Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

Ottawa County issued a “no-contact” order Thursday afternoon, July 6, effectively shutting down swimming at North Beach Park in Ferrysburg, after three tests Wednesday showed elevated levels of E.coli in the area.

According to USACE, warnings will continue to be posted until sampling shows safe levels of E.coli in the water.

The source of the bacteria is unknown but heavy rains in the area over the past week likely have elevated bacteria levels in the river.

Dredging operations in the channel take on a significant amount of river water, which could be explain the elevated levels in the dredged material placement area, said USACE.