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Ask the Ecologist

Q. How concerned should I be about the recent sewage dumping in Lake Michigan? A. You should be aware of some things before heading out to the beach or river for a swim. E. coli levels can be tracked using Milwaukee County Parks’ online report (www.countyparks.com). E. coli is the bad bacteria that can make you sick. At press time, MCP listed all beaches in Milwaukee County as having “Good Water Quality.” But check the the website before heading to the beach. Aside from swimming quality, the millions of little plants and animals trying to make a living in the waters affected by the sewage dumpings are worthy of concern. Many will die from bacterial contamination or suffocation from lack of oxygen due to the sewerage promoting excessive algal blooms. Do yourself, your neighbor, and future generations who want clean water a favor: disconnect your storm drain. Go to www.mmsd.com/projects/downspout.cfm to see how it’s done. It’s easy! If you don’t own your home, ask your landlord if s/he’s already done it. If not, offer to do it for them and maybe they’ll cut you a break on rent. Send your questions to our resident ecologist at:
by Belle Bergner