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Study says Ohio's Lake Erie beaches are worst in nation

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An environmental group says Lake Erie beaches in Ohio were the worst in the national last year for water quality.

The annual report from the Natural Resources Defense Council on coastal beaches ranked Ohio last based on how many times E. coli bacteria posed a health threat to swimmers at Lake Erie's 61 public beaches.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that in 2012, E. coli was detected in 21 percent of beach water tests. That put Ohio last. Wisconsin ranked 29th with a 14-percent rate.

The percentage of 2012 tests that found unhealthy bacteria was down only slightly, from the 22 percent in 2011.

Tessie Pollock, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Health, said sewage overflows, failing home septic systems and feces from geese and gulls contribute to bacteria contamination.

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