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June 20 2005 19:00

Lake Superior Public Beach Advisory Posted; Overflows Spur Additional Testing

Media Contact: Anne Perry Moore (218) 723-2356 Technical Contact: Heidi Bauman (218) 723-4953 All MPCA staff, toll-free (voice and TTY): (800) 657-3864 Duluth, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) beach water monitoring program is in full swing with one advisory sign going up, one being taken down and adding testing days at two regularly-monitored sites due to nearby sewer system overflows. "Heavy rainfall and the resulting churned-up sediment are the likely explanations why we placed a 'water contact not recommended' sign at the Bluebird Landing public beach today," said Heidi Bauman, MPCA Beach Program Coordinator. "And the rainfall-related sewer system overflows in eastern Duluth mean we'll be testing two nearby monitoring sites more times than usual." According to Bauman, the Bluebird Landing site, northeast of the French River, had an unsafe level of E. coli bacteria and will remain posted until bacteria counts fall below the health-risk threshold. Bacteria levels at Duluth's 14th Street / Duluth Boat Club Landing beach, where advisory signs were posted on June 17, returned to normal yesterday and signs will be taken down today. If anyone becomes ill after contact with beach water, they should contact Amy Westbrook at the Minnesota Department of Health Duluth office at (218) 723-4907. A number of other factors, such as dog, geese and other wildlife feces, dirty diapers, failing septic systems and stormwater runoff can contribute to higher levels of illness-causing bacteria. Funding and program restrictions keep MPCA staff from researching the origin of beach water bacteria. For more information about the beaches currently under advisories or for a list of regular monitoring locations, call Heidi Bauman at (218) 723-4953, toll-free at (800) 657-3864 or visit the related MPCA Web page at http://www.mnbeaches.org. People interested in receiving e-mail alerts about their favorite public swimming beaches may sign up for a free service at that Web site. Others may call the program's 24-hour hotline at (218) 725-7724 to hear an updated message about sites with currently-posted advisories.

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