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Published: Tuesday, 7/29/2008

Report: Ohio beaches rank 2nd in bacteria levels


COLUMBUS, Ohio A new report says Ohio ranked second among all states with coastal beaches that have water samples exceeding accepted bacteria levels, such as E. coli.

The report Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council and two Ohio environmental groups found that 18 percent of samples taken in 2007 from Ohio's Lake Erie beaches exceeded bacteria levels considered safe for swimming. Illinois was the highest with 23 percent.

Ohio's 2007 figure decreased from 22 percent in 2006, but was an increase from 14 percent in 2005.

Exposure to the bacteria E. coli can lead to gastroenteritis, dysentery, hepatitis and other illnesses.

The environmental groups attribute the bacteria levels to outdated and overwhelmed sewage and water treatment systems.

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