Two of the seven beaches in Evanston did worse than the statewide average on tests of beach water quality last year.

That’s the conclusion in a report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council, summarizing reports from the state’s Department of Public Health.

The beach in Evanston with the highest percentage of water samples that exceeded the state standard for baterial contamination, 36 percent, was Northwestern University’s campus beach.

The only city-owned beach that topped the state standard was South Beach at 32 percent.

The Lee Street Beach came in right at the statewide average of 14 percent, and the city’s other beaches did better than the statewide average.

Winnetka’s Elder Park Beach had the worst water quality report in the state, with 61 percent of the samples exceeding the contaminaton standard.

Some Chicago city beaches close to Evanston reported better than average pollution levels — 4 percent at Juneway Beach Park, 9 percent at Howard Beach Park and 10 percent at Jarvis Beach Park.

Illinois came in 26th among the states in the level of its beachwater quality, according to the NRDC.

South Beach was the one in Evanston most often closed for swimming last summer with closures on 22 days.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Charging to play in filth. STUPID.

    I live a short walk away from the South Blvd. beach so it is by far the most convenient for my family.   I find it ridiculous every year that I have to pay 90.00 dollars or so to go have fun with my three year old and wife only to swim and play in filth.  22 days the beach was closed last year… I get a refund for that?  Nope. 

    I know there are many factors that play into the contamination, but what’s the number one cause?  From what I hear it’s E-Coli.  I don’t see too many people pooping in the lake, but what I do see are a lot of seagulls right by the shoreline.  I also see the people coming out to test the water right by the shoreline.  Does this play into it?  I don’t know, but it may be worth looking into.  There are literally 50-100 birds some times.

    I understand that the lake can be closed, and the city does it for our protection.  However, charging people to have fun at the lake is absolutely STUPID.  If you must charge, lower the rates, especially for kids.  Charging a three year old the same as a thirty year old doesn’t make sense. 

    In the words of The Who, “I won’t be fooled again”.  I’ll take my family down the road where it’s FREE and less contaminated, or to one of the many FREE pools in Chicago

  2. Move Over Fido!

    How is it that the top chart shows the Dog Beach (!) with the cleanest water of all our beaches?  Are the seagulls being chased away by the pooches or are humans making more of a "mess" than the doggies (blech!)?  No matter, move over Fido, I'm swimming at your beach from now on.

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