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Minn., Wis. among worst violators in coastal beach report

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Beaches in the Great Lakes region had the highest violation rates out of 30 states in an annual report released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council, USA TODAY reports.

Minnesota ranked third worst with 12 percent of beaches monitored along the north shore exceeding the state’s daily maximum bacterial standard in 2012.

However, the report says two beaches in St. Louis County reached "Superstar" status: Park Point Franklin Park/13th Street South Beach and Lafayette Community Club Beach. The five-star status is based on low violation rates, frequent water testing and prompt public notification when there is a problem.

The report also notes that major flooding in Duluth last summer, causing the city's sewage system to fail and forcing the closure of all Lake Superior beaches for two days, may have affected the results.

Wisconsin was one step below its neighbor, ranking 29 out of 30 in water quality at beaches along Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The reports says 14 percent of all reported beach monitoring samples exceeded the state's daily maximum bacterial standard.

Milwaukee's South Shore Beach was among 11 ocean and Great Lakes beaches that consistently had poor water quality, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, with 43% of water samples exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advisory standard.

The solution? The environmental advocacy group says tightening federal regulations on polluted stormwater runoff, the most commonly identified cause of beach closings, will help communities keep beaches clean and safe.

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