Beach Water Quality Testing Improvements

The Chicago Park District Department of Cultural and Natural Resources (DCNR) will expand the water quality Rapid Testing method at Chicago beaches for summer 2017.  Sampling of bacteria levels in the water is performed following criteria established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  For the past two years, DCNR has worked with the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health (UIC) to pilot the EPA's newly established rapid test method at a subset of 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 three or four.  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 through the beach website, beach hotline, and a color-coded flag system at the beaches.

Learn more about beaches, including a list of beaches, hours and amenities.  

Tell Us What You Think

Please offer your comments, concerns or questions about the changes we are making this summer to the beach water quality testing method.

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