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Sequestration forces end of water quality testing on Great Lakes

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Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan

STURGEON BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Safe swimming cannot be guaranteed this summer on beaches that rely on federal water quality testing funds.

The EPA has pulled beach testing grants on places like the Great Lakes, due to the automatic spending cuts in the federal sequestration that began March 1st.

UW-Oshkosh handles all or part of the testing for seven counties in eastern Wisconsin – and it’s trying to keep the program running by cutting down on costs where it can.

The loss is particularly felt in Door County, where 30 beaches help attract tens of thousands of visitors each year.

The county received $56,000 in EPA water testing grants last year. And County health director Rhonda Kolberg figures she’ll need a minimum of $45,000 to run it this year.

She told FOX 11 that about half the funds have been raised. Also, Egg Harbor – along the Bay of Green Bay – has committed $1,000 from its room tax revenues to help with the effort.

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