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Taking Action For You: 7 Action News' test results prove E. coli in Lake St. Clair sludge

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 18:22:47-05

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — Our 7 Action News final test results are in and prove E. coli levels in the sludge that formed after heavy rains and more than a billion gallons of treated sewage discharges went into the lake.

The specific numbers from our tests are 121 and 155 colonies per 100ml. Our testing was done by the state certified Microbiological Associates in Farmington Hills.

If E. coli numbers are above 300 health officials would immediately close a beach in the summer. However, the state EGLE website also says if our 155 E. coli number existed for a month the standard would also be to close a beach.

EGLE states, “This 30-day geometric mean must be below 130 E. coli per 100ml for the water to be considered safe for swimming.”

Macomb County Health officials said yesterday their test results of the sludge did not pose an imminent health risk. But they did not release their numbers.

We were back out at the home of Joe Henninger where the test samples were taken on Tuesday. Today we saw rain today has turned the frozen sludge into a slime that is coating and staining everything it touches.

Joe also called a contractor who helped him build his dream home in 2016 with more than a million dollars invested.

Ryan Siarkowski of Synergy Development Specialist says the cleanup would need to involve several layers and subcontractors. The material gathered would have to be disposed of in a proper facility. He also says the colder weather now is holding down the E. coli numbers.

Bill Morrison lives a mile south of Joe in St. Clair Shores and also came over to see how much the cleanup would cost. He says this is not fair, no different than a neighbor’s dog doing its business on his lawn, and the dog’s owner should be responsible.

Siarkowski says each home cleanup will cost at least $10,000.

Read our test results below:

WXYZ TV 020-01-0091 by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd