No one wants to eagerly head to the beach just to find out it’s closed, but with summer storms affecting Lake Michigan’s water quality that could be common. Beaches close unexpectedly because of polluted waters. Polluted waters are very serious, they can contain disease-causing pathogens such as E.Coli bacteria.
Deputy Director of Communications Tara Wolf from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management explains what E.Coli is.
“Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a naturally occurring bacteria that lives in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. The presence of E.Coli in the beach water along Lake Michigan’s shoreline is a strong indication that the water may have recently been contaminated by sewage or animal fecal waste that may contain many types of harmful disease-causing organisms.
Swimming in and swallowing beach water contaminated with high levels of E.Coli can make you sick with abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache and muscle aches.Tara wolf tells us how to avoid polluted Indiana beaches.
“The best way to plan a trip to the beach is to go online at www.idem.IN.gov/beaches and check out BeachGuard for the latest water quality status of the beaches before leaving home.
Indiana Dunes Ranger Bruce Rowe talks about how the weather can affect E.Coli levels.
“When you have certain times in the summer when it’s rainier that’s when you’ll have higher E.Coli counts. So really if we had a large rain today I wouldn’t recommend coming to the beach tomorrow unless you check with the park.”
An easy way to check your local beach E.Coli levels is with the Beach alert App designed by the Indiana Department of environmental management. The app keeps people updated on the water quality of beaches in your area. For more information on how to stay informed on your local beach and learn how you can help keep Lake Michigan clean visit www.idem.IN.gov/beaches.