Port Stanley beaches closed due to E. coli risk – London |


The Southwestern Public Health Unit has announced that Port Stanley, Ont.’s beaches are not safe to swim at due to high levels of bacteria.

The Main Beach, Little Beach and Erie Rest all tested red for E. coli this past Wednesday.

During the summer months, water testing is done weekly by health unit inspectors. Water is collected, then tested for levels of the bacteria, which can indicate fecal contamination in the water.

Maddy Boyko, a health inspector with the Southwestern Public Health Unit, says swimming while exposure is high can be dangerous.

“E. coli is a disease-causing organism. So it can cause intestinal illness if ingested, or infections in the eyes, nose, ears and throat,” she explained.

“Especially for the little ones, the kids who like to splash and drink water, things like that are an even higher risk for them.”

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Recreational water quality guidelines indicate that anything over 200 E.coli per 100 millilitres of water is unsafe for swimming.

Typically, weather conditions, such as heavy rain, can cause an increase in bacteria.

“We typically say for up to two days after heavy rains, there could be high levels in there,” Boyko said. “If you go to the beach, and notice some cloudy water … we just advise you to reconsider swimming at that point.”

She added that warm weather can also cause an increase in water bacteria content. This past week saw some of the world’s warmest days, which Boyko says played a factor in the amount of bacteria in the water.

In addition to posting a sign at afflicted beaches advising of the risks, the health unit also posts weekly updates on the status of beaches on its website.

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