July 8, 2007

E. Coli Closes Lake Michigan Beaches

Elevated E. coli levels has caused a four-fold increase in Lake Michigan beach closings this year, it was reported Sunday.

High temperatures, a few rainy downpours and sea gull feces may have contributed to the closings and a dozen additional advisory alerts, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The most likely reason is due to the rain we've been having, said Laurel O'Sullivan, the Great Lakes campaign coordinator for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Fourteen Chicago beaches have closed this year, compared with three during the same period last year, and advisory alerts rose from 25 to 41. The water at most Lake Michigan beaches is tested daily.

Five Chicago beaches closed Saturday and reopened Sunday as temperatures soared into the 90s and people flocked to the lake. A swim advisory remained in effect at Rainbow Beach and South Shore Beach.