City of Hammond officials today obtained results of tests recently performed on the water of Wolf Lake, Hammond, Indiana in response to recent public concerns of the quality of the water in the lake. Tests taken Wednesday show Escherichia coli (E. coli) levels in Wolf Lake well below the State standard for “full body contact recreation.” Test results from the samples came back as 10 CFU/100 mL for both samples collected at Wolf Lake: one at the boat dock north of the Pavilion and one collected near the boat launch. The maximum limit of E. coli for “full body contact recreation” in the State of Indiana is 235 CFU/100 mL. The results were well below the allowable standard for full body contact recreation.
Lakes in Indiana contain a variety of microorganisms, including algae, fungi, protozoa, viruses and bacteria. Most of these microorganisms occur naturally and have little impact on human health. Some microorganisms can cause disease in humans. The measurement of E.coli is an acceptable indicator of contamination of water by warm-blooded animals that cause digestive and intestinal distress. For drinking water, E. coli must be below 1 CFU/100 mL to be safe for drinking. Hammond’s results prove the water in Wolf Lake is safe for recreating. Lake Michigan is the source of water for much of northwest Indiana, including Hammond and the communities the Hammond Water Works Department serve. Wolf Lake is not the source of drinking water for Indiana communities.
Previously, the City sampled the water at Wolf Lake for heavy metals and chemical toxic to wildlife. Those results showed normal background level of metals found in surface water and no measurable concentration of toxic chemicals.
“This comes as no surprise to me,” said Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. who supports all forms of recreation currently occurring on Wolf Lake. “On June 6, 2021, I intend on swimming a mile in the open water of Wolf Lake when I compete in Leon’s Triathlon,” a three-sport competition where athletes take on swimming, bicycling and running over the course of several hours. “While swimming is restricted at Wolf Lake most of the year, it will be open for Leon’s,” said Mayor McDermott of the event founded in 1983 and moved to Wolf Lake in 1988 during Mayor McDermott father’s administration.
Wolf Lake is not listed on Indiana’s 303(d) List of Impaired Waters for E. coli or any other constituent. No sewage or combined sewer overflows discharge into Wolf Lake.
“We have been partners with Leon’s for decades and we intend to continue holding this race that promotes the triathlon to include military service personal and disabled athletes,” said Mayor McDermott. “I couldn’t be happier when I was told the results.”