Health officials taking steps to keep beach-goers safe

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- With heat and humidity this weekend, the beach was the place to be for many who were looking to catch some rays and cool off in the water. Meanwhile, health officials were working to make sure beach-goers stay safe.

On a hot summer day, the cool waves of Lake Michigan can seem inviting, but some folks are reluctant to get in.

"We`re looking at it, but not going into the water as of yet until we know it's safe," Michele Zrubek told FOX6 News.

To help folks like Zrubek feel more comfortable, the city of Milwaukee's Health Department tests water quality at three beaches.

"We monitor for E. coli and when those levels exceed the public health threshold, we post water quality advisories. These bacterial levels have been associated with gastrointestinal stomach ailment," Paul Biedrzycki said.

A green sign means risk of illness is minimal, but the yellow signs like the ones seen Sunday, June 23rd at South Shore Beach and Bradford Beach means the risk of getting sick is elevated.

Brian Ginster took his own precautions on the beach this weekend.

"I didn't go underwater. I just went up to my neck, and I don't know exactly what's in the lake, but I didn't put my ears or mouth under the water," Ginster said.

Officials say with the yellow signs posted, caution should be exercised when playing in the water. Officials say swimmers should avoid ingesting any water.

"After using the water, washing the hands -- especially if they're going to consume beverages or eat at the beach," Biedrzycki said.

If a red sign is posted, the water is closed for swimming, as a red sign indicates the water hasn't tested safe for human ingestion or contact.

Health officials say there are several factors that influence water pollution.

Crews will continue to test the water daily through Labor Day to keep swimmers and other beach-goers safe.

CLICK HERE for information on the health of Wisconsin's beaches.