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Algae on Lake Michigan beach stumps state officials, prompts testing

Green material covers sand at Laketown Beach
Posted at 7:13 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 19:13:54-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — A small beach along Lake Michigan nestled between Holland State Park and Saugatuck State Park has a big problem: a green, gross, algae bloom.

Laketown Beach looks like a sea of green.

State officials with EGLE don't suspect it's a toxic form of algae. Even so, the material can carry bacteria. EGLE is planning on doing testing and encourages everyone to stay out of the water.

“From what you showed me, if you’re not in an enclosed bay area like, say, Grand Traverse or Green Bay, I’m not aware that we’ve gotten many reports to that extent,” Supervisor for the Lake Michigan Surface Water Assessment Section with the state's Department Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Gary Kohlhepp said.

It's strange for this type of activity to happen on Lake Michigan, Kohlhepp said. Answers aren't easy to come by until completed testing, and Kohlhepp says they still may not know why this particular phenomenon happened in an area it usually doesn't.

"You’re better off avoiding it,” Kohlhepp said.

Dangerous for pets and people, Kohlhepp says the green material will likely start to smell really nasty as it decomposes.