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Are gulls beach party-poopers?
Local official says E. coli in lake may be caused by seagulls
The counts of E. coli in the water remain high and could alter the plans for the annual triathlon this Sunday.
Shong, superintendent of the LPSD, suspects the cause of the high E. coli counts was due to Mother Nature's feathered friends. Shong said he thinks that seagulls, ducks and geese are the culprits.
Last month, the LPSD pumped 120,000 gallons of untreated sewage into a wetland behind the district office off of
Shong said Tuesday there are a lot of birds on the beach and noted when he drives by the beach he sees dozens of seagulls. A reporter counted more than 170 gulls on the beach late Tuesday morning.
"The E. coli has nothing to do with us," Shong said.
Shong cited a study done nearly 10 years ago that showed seagulls were responsible for closing a
That study, by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researcher Sandra McLellan, found that birds were the major source of E. coli at
Other bacteria from streets and farms that wash downstream, along with raw sewage dumping that occurs in heavy rainstorms, may also play a role, she said at the time.
That study was done in 2001 and did not find any E. coli linked to other animals or humans. McLellan, who is out of town and could not be reached for comment, continues to study water pollution in
The Department of Natural Resources and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District cosponsored the $96,000 research project nine years ago as high E. coli readings led to numerous closings of the beach.
The Pewaukee beach has been closed since June 24. The Pewaukee Park and Recreation Department does not keep records on the beach being closed but director Kelly Woldanski said closings due to E. coli are rare and typically only for a day. In 2008, the beach was closed for an extended period, but because of blue-green algae.
Shong has suggested to Woldanski that a DNA analysis be done to determine who or what is causing the E. coli at
Source: MJS Living Lake Country