Great Lakes Beaches Get Low Water Quality Scores


Wisconsin’s Great Lakes beaches don’t fare well in an environmental group’s new report.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has again compiled federal data to show how often beach water samples violate public health standards. Nationally there was a 14 percent decline last year in beach closing and advisory days. Wisconsin’s Great Lakes beaches, however, were second in the nation in violation rates, trailing only Ohio. The NRDC’s Josh Mogerman says people shouldn’t stop swimming in Lakes Michigan or Superior, but should consider the recent weather patterns when making plans.

Mogerman: “When we’ve had big storms rolling through, it may not be the best day [to go swimming]. Storms tend to send contaminants and storm water into the lakes themselves.”

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Mogerman says park and beach managers need to be proactive in warning the public of health risks, and suggests politicians should find ways to maintain water quality monitoring. Long term, the NRDC is asking governments to keep a tighter rein on point source and non-point water pollution.

The report singles out a beach in Milwaukee County – South Shore Beach – as a repeat offender for chronically high bacteria counts.