WAUKEGAN – Lake County health officials have determined bacteria levels in the water surrounding Chain O’ Lakes beaches now are low enough for swimmers to safely enjoy the water again.
Officials tested the 15 licensed swimming beaches around the Chain O’ Lakes for the presence of E. coli bacteria after flood waters receded, according to a news release from the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli bacteria are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness.
“All test results indicated that E. coli levels were below the unsafe range,” the release stated.
Since substantial flooding in mid-July, the Chain O’ Lakes has been closed to boating, and recreational swimming was not advised. The release warned swimmers that they should still be cautious in the lakes. Floating or sunken flood debris can be dangerous. The bacteria sampling is not completely representative of the entire system, either. Other sources of pollution still might be present.
Residents can test lake water themselves by picking up a bottle from the Health Department Lab, 500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville. Each sample costs $18. Anyone with questions or a tip regarding a possible pollution source should call the Lake County Health Department at 847-377-8020.