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E. coli Outbreaks Down This Year at Chicago Beaches

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Lake Michigan swimmers in Chicago are in luck this summer. The city’s Park District says swimming bans related to E. Coli outbreaks are down from last year.

When E. Coli counts get too high at a local beach, the Chicago Park District plants a red flag in the sand and issues a swimming ban. The district issued almost 40 bans by this time last year. But so far this summer, that number’s closer to 20.

Ellen Sargent is with the Park District. She says there are so many conditions that effect E. coli growth, it’s nearly impossible to isolate just one that’s keeping counts low.

SARGENT: If you can imagine that we’re making a big meal and we’ve got all these burners on and you kind of have to keep on watching everything because something’s going to boil over or something’s just simmering and you kind of have to keep your eye on everything all at once.

Given that, Sargent says there’s really no way to predict E. coli activity between now and the end of the swimming season.

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