October 23, 2018

E-coli found in Dobson Drain, drinking water still safe


STANDISH — Standish City Manager Mike Moran issued an e-coli alert to the citizens of Standish last Wednesday.

According to Moran and Arenac County Drain Commissioner Larry Davis, all residents should stay away from the water in and around Dobson Drain as high e-coli levels have been found in the drain.

“We want to advise the community not to go into the (drain). The city mayor, myself, and water and sewage staff met with Larry Davis this morning,” Moran said on June 9. “Last week he and the board of health did a check on Dobson Drain. He advised us that the drain has high levels of e-coli. We are collaborating with him.”

The drain, which starts in Lincoln Township, travels through the city of Standish and then enters into the Pine River, is in its second year of a six-year cleaning process.

According to Davis, the cleaning process has taken this long, because he does not want to raise people’s taxes.

The water in the drain became suspicious to Davis when he thought something just wasn’t right.

“This is our second year cleaning it. I didn’t like the smell or the color of the water, so I tested it,” he said. “I’m going to test at each cross street. This is a problem that didn’t just pop up overnight.”

Davis also said the Central Michigan District Health Department said that it could have something to do with raw sewage.

“We don’t know. (He) believed that it might be,” said Davis about the CMDHD employee whom he’s working with. “It’s all speculation until we perform further tests.”

Though e-coli has been found in the drain, both Moran and Davis said that it is important to know that this does not affect the city’s drinking water or the sewage system.

“We certainly want to emphasize that children should stay out of (it). It doesn’t have any impact on our water, (which) is pumped from our water station,” said Moran. “It could be old septic tanks. It could be a lot of things like old runoffs from farms. We’re trying to investigate.”

Though the source of the e-coli is not known, Davis said he just has a feeling that it’s not coming from Lincoln township, because he doesn’t know of any cattle near the drain.

“I have advised the city of Standish and the Lincoln Township,” said the drain commissioner over the phone on Monday. “My gut feeling is that it is not coming from Lincoln Township.”

Though the work is being done to find the source of the bacteria, Davis said that he and the health department must wait until it rains to figure it out.

“You’ve got to have a rain event to do a proper test. As soon as the conditions are right, they will do it,” said Davis. “As soon as he gets the test back he will call me.”

Though it may take a while to get things in order, Davis said that things will get figured out.

“If it comes down to where people are dumping raw sewage, then they will be prosecuted,” he said. “We’ve got a problem and were going to find it.”


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