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County begins beach sampling program

Post Date:05/26/2017 4:15 PM


 Contact Keri Zaleski
815-334-4456; cell 815-236-3238

MAY 26, 2017
McHenry County Department of Health
2200 N Seminary Avenue
Woodstock IL

 Woodstock Ill. – There are currently 38 licensed public beaches on 13 lakes in McHenry County. Each public beach is licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health and inspected by McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) for compliance with the Illinois Swimming Pool and Bathing Beach Code.

Testing of the County’s licensed public beaches is conducted a minimum of every 2 weeks from Memorial Day through Labor Day to monitor for E. coli bacteria, which is a health risk indicator.  Both shallow and deep areas are sampled and compared to acceptable limits set by the State Health Department.  Elevated levels may result in closure of the beach until bacteria reach acceptable levels.

Sample results are posted regularly at (link to Environmental Health, public beaches). Results can include a swimmer’s advisory or closure of the beach, if elevated E. coli levels are found.

The best way to prevent recreational water illness is to reduce your risk. Everyone can help create healthy swimming experiences this summer by following these Dos and Don’ts for healthy swimming:

  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  • Don’t swallow the water.
  • Don’t swim 24 hours after a heavy rainfall. 
  • Do practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before and after swimming; wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • Do take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often.
  • Do change diapers in a bathroom or diaper-changing area.
  • Do wash your children (after toileting) with soap and water before they go swimming.


Gastroenteritis-type exposure to contaminated recreational waters could result in illnesses including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain with headache and low grade fever.  Early public notification can prevent additional people from getting sick.  If you become sick after swimming at a McHenry County beach, notify MCDH at 815-334-4585 as well as the beach operator. For information about healthy swimming, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Recreational Water Illness and Injury