By Associated Press - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - Heavy rain overwhelmed the sewer system in northeast Ohio this week, discharging raw sewage into Lake Erie and leading to water advisories at a number of beaches.

The torrential rain on Monday led to swimming advisories at Edgewater Park beach in Cleveland and nearly a dozen other beaches along the lake shore.

Visitors were being advised to avoid contact with the water and debris. Officials say high levels of e. coli bacteria could sicken children, the elderly and those in ill health if the water is ingested.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer ( ) reports that sewer overflows account for about 20 percent of the e. coli bacteria in the lake. Much of the bacteria comes from storm water runoff, which often contains goose and gull feces, pesticides and fertilizers.

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