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      Superior Watershed Partnership increases E. coli testing

      Marquette city officials and the Superior Watershed Partnership are working harder to make sure one Marquette beach stays clean.

      The SWP will now be testing the waters around South Beach five times a week for E. coli. Previously it was only two times a week. The city closed the beach five times last summer for high E. coli readings. The SWP will soon be using an experimental "rapid test" for the water. It will take only three hours to analyze the sample, rather than the current 24 hour tests. To fight beach pollution, the SWP is working to educate the public and to clean up storm drains and storm water outfalls that lead into Lake Superior.

      "We don't want people swimming in water that's not healthy. That's the number one reason," said Mark O'Neill, lab technician with the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

      To limit the pollution that enters the more than 3,000 drainage sewers around Marquette, the SWP recommends using less fertilizer, sweeping up grass remains that are on sidewalks, not littering, especially cigarette butts, and disposing of animal waste properly. The other beaches around Marquette will continue to be analyzed twice a week.