Health Unit starts beach water testing program


The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has started weekly water sampling of the area’s public bathing beaches for this year.

The following beaches will be monitored weekly throughout the summer season until August 24, 2020:

In Lanark County: Almonte Beach, Dalhousie Lake, Centennial Beach, Riverside Beach, Lanark Beach, Pakenham Beach, Rideau Ferry Yacht Club, Robertson Lake Beach, Smiths Falls Junior and Senior.

In Leeds and Grenville: Sand Bay Charleston Lake County Park, St. Lawrence Park, Lyn Valley Conservation Area, South Crosby Beach, Portland Campbell Street Beach, Joel Stone Beach, Lower Beverley Township Park, Kelly’s Beach, Merrickville, Westport Sand Lake.

Foley Mountain Beach, Kendrick’s Park and Bellamy Park are not open this week and therefore have not been tested. Keep checking with municipalities as they work to open their beaches.

Beaches are sampled once a week and monitored for E. Coli. Research has shown that when people are swimming or in the water (bathing) at beaches where the water has a high E. coli level (above the standard of 200) there is a direct relationship with an increase in ear, eye, nose and throat infections in swimmers. Therefore when samples exceed 200, the beach is posted with a warning sign “unsafe for bathing” The bathing beach will remain posted until test results indicate that the water quality meets the bathing beach water standard. To help you better understand “Why Beaches are Posted”, check out the Health Unit website Beaches page.

The results of the testing will appear on our website and social media. As of June 26, 2020, we have posted only 2 beaches: Almonte Beach and Senior Beach in Smiths Falls. Because of the Public Health Lab holiday on Canada Day, we will not be able to test the beaches next week and there will be no results posted July 3rd. Updates will be posted Friday mornings by 9:30am starting July 10, 2020.

Testing the water for bacteria is one factor used to determine water quality. The quality of surface water is changeable so the health unit advises bathers and swimmers that before they visit a local beach, think about other issues that may affect the quality and safety of the water, such as heavy rain in the area within 24 hours and water fowl droppings in the water or on the beach as these may contribute to high bacteria levels. Other variables, which are assessed and evaluated, are the presence of a blue-green algae bloom, accidental spills that may pollute the water and any safety issue that could affect the health of the bathers.

Although summer is here and more public areas are opening up, COVID-19 remains a public health threat and anyone using public beaches should not go to the beach if showing symptoms of COVID-19. It is important to maintain physical distancing of 2m/6ft on the beach and in the water and keep groups to 10 or less so as not to exceed the current restrictions on social gatherings.

Change rooms and washrooms may not be open to the public so come prepared for the beach by changing at home. Remember to bring hand sanitizer so that you can clean your hands frequently.

Information about recreational water safety and beach water testing results for this week are available on our Weekly Beach Results page, @LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter or by calling 1-800-660-5853.


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