Reported by Jake Griffin, Daily Herald
That’s despite test results that show the beach should have been closed for 10 days.
Due to a lag in the time it takes the state to test water samples, beachgoers may be frolicking in filth. Illinois Department of Public Health officials said it can take as much as two days for test results on water samples with dangerously high bacteria levels to be discovered.
“That’s one of the flaws in the system,” said Melaney Arnold, IDPH spokeswoman.
According to IDPH records, water samples from 150 lake beaches in Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties tested above the closure threshold 253 times in 2012. In most cases, those beaches were open during times when the bacteria levels would have mandated closure. There are no swimming beaches in DuPage County requiring the state to test.
Additionally, since water at most inland lake beaches is tested only twice a month, swimmers may spend days in contaminated water and never know it. Water at Lake Michigan beaches is tested with greater frequency, which partially accounts for a higher rate of contamination, health officials explained.