Beach Monitoring

Where can I find e.coli readings for the parks beach access points?

For information on e.coli readings at the parks various beach access points visit the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). (Note: The national park service does not operate the "Indiana Department of Environmental Management" site.)

 
How do single sample E. coli levels relate to swimming related illness rates in EPA’s studies?

E. coli level of a single sample

Reported gastrointestinal illness rate?

236

8 in 1,000 swimmers (at the 75% C.L.*)

301

9 in 1,000 swimmers (at the 75% C.L.)

385

10 in 1,000 swimmers (at the 75% C.L.)

576

8 in 1,000 swimmers (at the 95% C.L.)

736

9 in 1,000 swimmers (at the 95% C.L.)

940

10 in 1,000 swimmers (at the 95% C.L.)
*In EPA’s studies, for a gastrointestinal illness rate of 8 in 1,000 swimmers, there was a 75% probability that the concentration of E. coli in any single sample would be 235 or less (i.e., the 75% Confidence Level) and there was a 95% probability that the concentration of E. coli in any single sample would be 576 or less (i.e., the 95% Confidence Level).
 
What you can do to help protect your health and that of other beach-goers:

At the Beach

  • Do not swim or play in streams or ditches flowing into Lake Michigan (they contain run-off that is more likely to be contaminated).
  • Do not feed the seagulls, geese, or other animals on the beach. The feces from these animals as well as from dogs can increase microorganisms on the beach and in the water. At beaches where dogs are allowed, it is critical to pick-up pet waste and dispose of properly.
  • Place all litter in trash cans provided (or properly dispose of it after leaving the beach). Trash left out on the beach is unsightly, can be hazardous, and will attract animals.
  • Take young children on bathroom breaks and check diapers often. Waiting to hear "I have to go" may mean that it's too late.
  • Do not swim when you have diarrhea and don’t allow children in dirty diapers to swim. Micro-organisms can spread through the water and make other people sick.
  • When going to the beach or for other outdoor activities, keep two items handy—a sunscreen lotion and a hand-sanitizing lotion (62% ethyl alcohol). Use an appropriate sun screen before going outside and use the hand-sanitizing lotion after swimming or playing in the sand. (Microorganisms are present in the water, sand, and soil.)

At Home

  • Support the restoration of wetlands. Wetlands help to clean and protect Lake Michigan and can reduce the level of microorganisms. Healthy wetlands will lead to open beaches.
  • Keep your septic system properly maintained.
  • Reduce your water use, especially during heavy rain events, when local sewage treatment plants get overloaded. Postpone your laundry chores when it is raining.
  • Pick up pet waste and dispose of it properly. Don't hose waste into storm drains. Pet waste contains microorganisms that can spread disease. Help keep your yard, neighborhood, and Lake Michigan, healthy and clean.

Additional Resources
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming/

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Beachgoer's Guide
http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/beaches/goer2.html

Human Health Impacts of Sewer Overflows: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/csossoRTC2004_chapter06.pdf

Drowning: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/drown.htm

Swim Safe (Some Tips from the CDC) --
• Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangerous to swimmers and boaters.

• Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents (e.g., water that is discolored and unusually choppy, foamy, or filled with debris). If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore. Once out of the current, swim toward the shore.

• Make sure an adult is constantly watching children swimming or playing in or around the water. Do not read, play cards, talk on the phone, or engage in any other distracting activity while supervising children.

• Always swim with a buddy.

Last updated: June 28, 2022

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1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter , IN 46304

Phone:

219 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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