Chicago beaches reopen after poor water quality test results - FOX 32 News Chicago

Chicago beaches reopen after poor water quality test results

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Heavy rains caused high bacteria levels in Lake Michigan this week and that’s why beaches were closed for safety concerns for a few days.

The city said that the water is now safe to use, but you will be surprised how it is tested.

“This is one thing I really wanted to do,” said 11-year-old Kylie Grunsten.

Imagine your beach plans dashed because of high bacteria levels in the water. That was the case Monday, but Thursday night Chicago's beaches, including North Avenue Beach, were open after testing indicated normal levels of E. Coli -- a bacteria that lives in the lower intestine of most warm-blooded animals.

“We have some of our staff go out to every beach, they wade into the water to about knee depth following federal guidelines, they take two samples of water and we bring it over to a lab at UIC where they test it in the lab,” said Cathy Breitenbach, Director of Cultural Affairs and Natural Resources at Chicago Park District.

Try explaining that to 11-year-old Kylie Grunsten who was finally able to get her wish today.

“It's actually really cold but I like it still. My sister and I really like how it's really fun to swim in,” said Grunsten.

“She went swimming, she brought her mermaid tail and they're making a sand castle, her brother and sister are still down there… We know they monitor it here and they're very cautious about that so that's a peace of mind for us,” said Dehn Grunsten, Kylie’s mother.

Chicago's beaches continue to fill up because of the sand and the fun.

“Could you expect more? Volleyball, boat with music, food, drink, the atmosphere, it's amazing, that's why we come here,” said Ross Bristow, a tourist from England.

“One of the best beaches I've ever been to,” said Bristow.

“It is surprising actually. I would he never thought it considering that we're not the traditional sunshine state,” said Adrian Keys, a native Chicagoan.

However, Chicago does have 26 miles of beaches with the city's world famous skyline as a backdrop.

“This is why we moved here, it had every element that we were looking for, everything. It had the city, it had the beach, it had the atmosphere. Of course we won't be here in the winter,” said Serena Chenault.

But until then Chenault and others will soak up the sun in the sand when the weather and water quality permits.

“So hopefully onward and upward. It's a beautiful beach, I've come here for years and I wanted to share it with my children,” said Grunsten.

FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis reports that most of the time sources of bacteria contamination in Chicago's lake front apparently come from activities at the beach, including people walking their dogs and not picking up after them and feeding the birds contributing to seagull waste. The city said that testing is done daily.

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