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Bacteria at the beach: High levels found at nearly a dozen locations in past two weeks
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Bacteria at the beach: High levels found at nearly a dozen locations in past two weeks

Hammond lakefront

The beach at Hammond's lakefront.

Contamination advisories lasting at least one day were issued for 11 different beaches in Northwest Indiana between July 29 and Friday.

The beaches included:

  • Broadway Beach in Beverly Shores
  • Central Beach at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Hammond Marina West
  • Indiana Dunes State Park's east and west beaches
  • Sheridan Beach Stop 7 in Michigan City
  • Shore Avenue Beach in Beverly Shores
  • Shoreland Hills Beach Stop 31 in LaPorte County
  • Washington Park Beach in Michigan City
  • Whihala Beach West in Whiting
  • Kiwanis Park Beach on Pine Lake in LaPorte County

Beach managers self-report the data, which appears on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's BeachGuard website.

E. coli is considered an indicator bacteria and often does not directly cause swimming-related illnesses, according to a recent Beach Monitoring Report issued by the National Park Service.

"Beach managers test for levels of bacteria in the water that can be associated with contamination from sewage or other sources of contamination and which may indicate the potential presence of human pathogens in the water," the report said. 

Gastrointestinal illnesses are a primary concern when swimmers come in direct contact or ingest contaminated water, the report said.

"Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, headache and fever," the report said. 

Though less common, conditions affecting the eyes, ears, skin and upper respiratory tract also could be contracted.

This list provides a look back at conditions at local beaches during the past two weeks.

Anyone considering a trip to the beach is encouraged to check the BeachGuard site before heading out, because data is updated daily.

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