Recreational Activities


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) swimming pool rules define a public swimming or spa pool as "an artificial body of water…used for the purpose of swimming wading, recreation, or instruction." Facilities having public pools would consist of schools, hotels, apartments, campgrounds, hospitals, fitness centers, condominiums and neighborhood association, etc.


The Barry-Eaton District Health Department currently audits 73 public swimming pools and spas on a semi-annual basis for safety and environmental hazards. All outdoor pools must have a pre-opening audit prior to opening for the season.

  • Establish operator competency through audits, education and certification. 
  • Minimize the risk for swimming-associated illnesses, injuries or deaths. 
  • Assure facility contingency plans for response to biohazard (blood, feces, vomit) events at or in the pool.

It is recommended that a certified pool operator (CPO) be the person responsible for operating and maintaining a public swimming pool or spa. Certification is achieved through the National Swimming Pool foundation (NSPF) and is valid for five years. Additional information on CPO certification can be found on the NSPF website.

For additional information on swimming pools, licensing and recreational water illnesses, please visit the following websites:


Since 2003, the BEDHD has been annually monitoring the surface water quality at various public beaches within the District through the grand source of the Clean Michigan Initiative-Clean Water Fund (CMI-CWF).

A bathing beach is defined as an outdoor public area along a natural or man-made body of water for the intended purpose of recreational use and/or swimming.

Each beach is sampled from 3 separate locations at a frequency of 5 times per month. If a beach water sample is found to be above 300 E. coli per 100mL of water, or the 30 day geometric mean at a sample site is above 130 E. coli per 100mL of water; a swimming advisory will be posted for not meeting Michigan water quality standards for full body contact. A swimming advisory will remain in effect until follow-up samples indicate the water meets the full body contact standards.

For additional information on Michigan public beaches, monitoring and beach closings click here.

  • To minimize the risk of swimming-associated illness 
  • Increase public awareness of waterborne diseases 
  • Increase park official’s education, monitoring and maintenance of publicly used beaches.

Swimmer’s itch is a dermatitis that can develop on parts of the body that have been exposed to lake water. Reddened spots, called papules, form on the body within hours after exposure and will itch intensely for several days before subsiding. After approximately one week, the symptoms usually disappear. In severe cases, a person can develop a fever, become nauseated, and spend several sleepless nights suffering from intense itching.

Swimmer’s itch is caused by aquatic parasites (flatworms) that naturally cycle between two different hosts, most commonly snails and ducks. Unfortunately, the parasite stages released from snails are unable to distinguish duck skin from human skin. When they penetrate into the skin of a person, the parasites are unable to pass through the epidermis layer of skin and soon die, causing an allergic reaction ending with the formation of a papule (i.e., an itchy spot).

Although extremely annoying and discomforting, swimmer’s itch is not a communicable or fatal disease. Over-the-counter drugs are available to reduce the effects of swimmer’s itch. Antihistamines can be used to help relieve the itching while topical steroid creams may help to reduce the swelling. Before taking any of these drugs, first consult your physician or dermatologist for advice.

For additional information on swimmer’s itch click here.


Campgrounds are licensed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and regulated by the BEDHD under the authority of Part 125 of Public Act 368, PA 1978.

The MDEQ campground rules define a campground as " A parcel or tract of land…offered for the use of the public of members of an organization…for the establishment of temporary living quarters for five or more recreational units." Recreational units include tents.

Modern: A service building with flush toilets and water under pressure or water and sewer connections at individual campsites.


Primitive: Privies only with no individual water of sewer connections at campsites.


Temporary: Operates for 2 weeks or less with a 2-week extension if permitted by the local health department.


The BEDHD currently audits 33 campground having a total of 2,914 campsites. All campgrounds are audited on an annual basis for safety and environmental hazards.

  • To eliminate public health conditions or hazards that could lead to injury, illness or death. 
  • To minimize public health conditions that could pose a nuisance. 
  • To increase operator awareness and understanding MDEQ rule changes. 
  • To facilitate a working relationship between operators and MDEQ.


The Barry-Eaton District Health Department works with the campground owner/operators to ensure that the camping experience is safe and enjoyable.


For additional information on campgrounds, licensing and rules visit the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality website.