Winnetka Park District: Elder Beach is safe
John Shea, recreation supervisor for the Winnetka Park District, makes his way into the water at Elder Park beach to test for e. coli May 11. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:20AM
WINNETKA — Winnetka Park District is disputing a recently released report by the National Resources Defense Council that claimed the beach had one of the highest bacterial levels in the country.
“Since opening Elder Lane Beach for the 2012 season on June 9, beachgoers have enjoyed a safe and enjoyable experience, said a park district relase. “A recently released report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) may have led to untimely concern for residents, beach patrons and media about the high bacteria levels at Elder Lane Beach, basing information on the NRDC’s 2011 findings.
“The NRDC report and those reporting its findings have not taking into account the corrective measures that have taken place over the past year. The Village of Winnetka have investigated, detected and repairs have been made to 15 private homeowner sewage systems that had previously crossed over into the stormwater drainage system that discharges near Elder Lane Beach. Upon conclusion of those repairs, 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.
“State and federal guidelines recommend beach closing after water is found to have more than 235 colony-forming units of E. coli and requires closure at 1000. Winnetka Park District has always closed at the recommended level.
This season Elder Lane Beach has been well below the recommended level with its highest reading being at 69.5 with the lowest less than 1.
The Park District noted it will continue to provide water samples for daily testing.
Closures are posted on the District’s website at www.winpark.org or patrons can sign up to receive text alerts by calling 847-501-2040.