Prevent, Promote, and Protect your Health with the Lake County General Health District
(440) 350-2543
5966 Heisley Rd
Mentor, Ohio 44060
May 09, 2017
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May 9, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                              CONTACT: Daniel Lark, (440) 350-2860

May 8, 2017                                                                                                              LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT 

KEEPING BEACHES SAFE IN LAKE COUNTY  

The bathing beach recreation season officially begins on Memorial Day. The Lake County General Health District (LCGHD) will start reporting beach water quality at Mentor Headlands State Park Beach and Lake Metroparks Fairport Harbor Beach. Every morning, a member of staff will collect data and record observations. The data is then entered into a software program called Virtual Beach that uses a mathematical system developed by United States Environmental Protection Agency to predict the levels of Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacterium that can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections and other illnesses, at the beach each day. 

The model determines whether there will be greater than allowed amount of 235 E. coli per 100 milliliters of sample for that day. The models developed for each beach are site-specific. The results are reported to the beach operators each morning using Ohio Department of Health (ODH) BEACHGUARD and Nowcast. If the results show that the water quality will not be good because of high levels of E. coli that day, the beach operators are notified and advised to post the “Advisory” sign. LCGHD validates the models three times each week for accuracy and reliability.

As always, LCGHD recommends that the public look for the water quality Nowcast signage at the beach when deciding whether to go into the water. Additionally it is recommended that beach goers avoid the water for 24-48 hours after a heavy rain of more than ½ inch in 24 hours, since poor water quality is likely. Always shower off as soon as possible after swimming in the lake. Beach goers are encouraged to visit the LCGHD website at https://www.lcghd.org , click on the letter “B” tab and click on “Beaches” for more information on beach water quality and links to the ODH BEACHGUARD and Nowcast sites.

In addition, the week before Memorial Day (May 22-28, 2017) is National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. The goal of this week is to promote healthy and safe swimming to maximize its health benefits. Just 2.5 hours of water-based physical activity per week gives health benefits across a lifetime. We each play a role in preventing illnesses caused by germs in the water we share and swim in; and injuries, such as drowning or those caused by improper handling of pool chemicals.

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Marianne Rusnak
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