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Elder Lane Park Beach Safe Despite Reports, Park District Says

In 2011, Natural Resources Defense Council rated beach as having one of the highest percentages of bacterial samples found in the water; Park District says information is inaccurate today.

A 2011 report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) labeled Elder Lane Park Beach as having one of the highest levels of bacteria across the country.

The Winnetka Park District, who oversees water quality at the village’s beaches, says the report is no longer accurate.

An article from Channel 7/ WLS News published Wednesday, June 27, reported the water at the beach failed to meet the state’s maximum bacterial standards 54-percent of the time.

“The NRDC report and those reporting its findings have not taken into account [the] corrective measures that have taken place over the last year,” according to a press release from Mary Cherveny, communications/marketing manager at the Winnetka Park District. 

The press release went on to say that the Village of Winnetka has investigated the issue and addressed it for more than 12 months in response to the NRDC findings. 

“Winnetka Park District lakefront management has been testing the waters since early spring 2012 with positive results. Significant improvements in water quality (bacteria levels) have been achieved thus far in 2012, with no beach closures due to water quality, compared to 10 closings to date, last year over this same time period,” the press release said.

Among the actions taken by the village and the park district, according to the release, were to work with the 15 private homeowners due to sewage system cross-over into the stormwater drainage system that drained into the beach waters. 

The NRDC and state guidelines recommends closing beaches if there are more than 235 colony-forming units of E. coli.  Beaches are required to be closed when 1,000 are measured.

In the past, best practice for Winnetka Beach has been to close beaches at the recommended and not required levels, the press release said. 

“Since opening Elder Lane Beach for the 2012 season on June 9, beachgoers have enjoyed a safe and enjoyable experience,” the press release states.

Beach closures are posted on the Winnetka Park District website, and residents can receive text alerts by calling (847) 501-2040 and signing up. 

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