2017 Beach Season Kicks Off May 26 & Runs Through Labor Day
Rapid Testing Expands to All Chicago Beaches
The Chicago Park District announced the city’s 27 beaches open for the 2017 season on Fri., May 26. The beach season runs through Mon., Sept. 4, 2017. New this season, the Chicago Park District will expand a new water quality testing method, Rapid Testing, to all Chicago beaches this summer.
For the past two years, the Park District has partnered with University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health to pilot the USEPA’s newly established rapid test method at only select beaches. This new method uses DNA detection of Enterococci instead of culturing live E. coli bacteria cells, and cuts the time required for test results from 18 to 24 hours to only 3 to 4 hours.
“With more than 20 million beach goers visiting our beaches each summer, keeping our beaches safe and healthy is a top priority,” said Michael P. Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO. “The Chicago Park District is constantly striving to integrate the latest technology and creative programs in our efforts to manage and maintain the health of our beaches.”
Water quality conditions can change dramatically from day to day, therefore, faster results provide more accurate information for the public and better protection of public health. Beaches will be sampled seven days a week and information will be reported to the public via Chicago Park District website, beach hotline, and a color-coded flag system at the beaches. Sampling of bacteria levels in the water is performed following criteria established by USEPA.
The Chicago Park District will continue to utilize the flag notification system and interactive web page to display swim status, water quality, weather data, location information, amenities, directions and historical details about each of the 27 beach locations.
The following flag notification system tells patrons the current status of beaches:
· Green– Swimming is permitted. Weather conditions are fair and water quality is good.
· Yellow– Swimming is permitted, but caution is advised. Weather conditions are unpredictable or bacteria levels are higher than the water quality criteria set by EPA for notifying the public.
· Red– Swimming is not permitted. Weather conditions are dangerous or water quality conditions are dangerous.
Patrons are asked to observe the followingbeach rules:
· Obey lifeguards andswim only when lifeguards are present.
· No glass, alcohol or smoking on the beach.
· Properly dispose of food, diapers and other refuse. Do not feed birds. Dogs are only allowed in designated dog areas.
· Please put swim diapers on small children.
· Grilling is only allowed in designated areas and coals should be disposed in the red hot metal containers.
· Keep accessible beach walks clear. No bicycling, skateboarding or rollerblading is permitted in these areas.
· Access to the Lake Michigan Water Trail for sports such as kayaking, canoeing and other non-motorized board or paddle sports is allowed at 12th Street Beach. For more information, go to the rules page and download information on Lake Michigan water trails.
· Kiteboarding is not permitted at 12th Street Beach; kiteboarding is ONLY permitted at Montrose Beach.
· Swimming is permitted and lifeguards are on duty at all beaches from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., unless otherwise posted.
Beach goers can also access information on swim status by calling the Chicago Park District Beach Hotline at 312-74-BEACH, checking www.chicagoparkdistrict.comor following us on Facebook and Twitter for the swim status at each beach.
The Chicago Park District outdoor pools open for the season Fri., June 16, 2017. Outdoor pool hours are 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Admission is free to Park District pools, but fees vary for lap swim and instructional classes.
Admission to Chicago’s beaches is free. For a list of locations or for more information, visit the Park District website at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call the Beaches and Pools Unit at 773-363-2225.