Samples will be taken weekly throughout the summer to ensure each beach is safe for swimming, said the health unit in a news release.
The water samples collected are analyzed for E. coli bacteria, which normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals. The presence of this bacteria, if above acceptable bacteriological water quality standards, can be an indication of fecal pollution. This may come from storm water runoff, pets or wildlife.
If this bacteria is present in high concentrations and ingested while swimming, it may cause upset stomach, diarrhea and vomiting. In the event that samples show high concentrations of bacteria, the health unit will post advisory signs warning the public that the beach may be unsafe for swimming.
In addition to this warning, the SDHU will start collecting daily samples at the affected beach to monitor its water quality. The advisory signs will remain at that beach until testing shows a return to acceptable bacteria levels.
For information about the status of local beaches, visit www.sdhu.com or call 705-522-9200, ext. 398, toll-free 1-866-522-9200.