High bacteria levels close Chicago beaches

Wednesday, July 24th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ Dangerously high levels of E. coli bacteria in the water prompted officials to close the city's Lake Michigan beaches this week.

Chicago Park District officials closed all lakefront beaches late Monday and kept them closed Tuesday. The park district said the beaches would remain closed until bacteria levels subside.

High water temperatures combined with light wind to create ideal breeding conditions for the bacteria in recent days, officials said.

Before this closure, Chicago had closed four beaches this year for a day each. Beaches in Lake County were closed earlier this month after 300,000 gallons of water mixed with raw sewage emptied into Lake Michigan.

Twenty-year-old Rachelle Reynozo and her friends thought it was only a joke when the lifeguards told them Tuesday to get out of the water that they had been swimming in late Monday afternoon.

``They let us in the water yesterday. What, did we get E. coli yesterday?'' Reynozo asked. ``I'm sure I ingested some water.''