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Back in the swim of things at county beaches

With the official summer countdown underway, Public Health Inspectors from the Peterborough County-City Health Unit began beach sampling for this year’s swimming season on Monday, June 2. They will regularly sample public beaches in the city and county to ensure water quality conditions are safe for the upcoming months.

Local residents will be able to check the most recent status of public beaches at any time by visiting or by calling the Health Unit at 705-743-1000 during office hours. Residents are also encouraged to follow the Health Unit on Twitter @PCCHU for beach updates throughout the summer.

The routine surveillance program for all public beaches runs from June until August. The city beaches at Rogers Cove and Beavermead are sampled by Public Health Inspectors every business day, and public beaches in the county are sampled at least once a week, except for Chandos Beach, Quarry Bay Beach, and White’s Beach which are sampled at least once in June, July and August.

Though PCCHU will always maintain its surveillance schedule, the following may result in unsafe levels of bacteria between sampling periods:

• Heavy rainfall

• Large numbers of water fowl

• High winds or wave activity

• Large numbers of swimmers

Some things that you are able to do to ensure the water quality remains safe:

• Do not feed waterfowl

• Do not let children swim in soiled diapers

• Pick up your garbage

• Clean up after your dog

Water samples will be submitted to the Peterborough Public Health Ontario Laboratory for bacteriological analysis.  The water samples are going to be tested for E. coli bacteria, an indicator of fecal contamination in the water. It takes approximately 24 hours for the Health Unit to receive and analyze the water quality results from the lab.

If the results return with E. coli levels exceeding 100 E. coli cfu/100mL of water the public beach will be “posted”. This means the water is unsafe for recreational use, including swimming. When this happens, the Health Unit will post signs around the beach area to inform the public not to come into contact with the water as it is a potential threat to human health. The next level of public awareness would be to post the beach as “closed”. This is when a significant risk to human health and safety has been identified. This results when there are such signs of hazardous or infectious material in the water or when there is a blue-green algae bloom. Swimming is not permitted and beach access is restricted or eliminated.

The following beaches will be tested for the 2014 summer months;

• Buckhorn Beach (John St., Buckhorn)

• Chandos Beach (Hwy 620, North Kawartha)

• Crowe’s Line Beach (Crowe’s Line Rd., Harvey)

• Curve Lake Lance Wood Park (Whetung St E, Curve Lake)

• Curve Lake Henrys Gumming (Chemong St S, Curve Lake)

• Douro (205 Douro Second Line, Douro-Dummer)

• Ennismore (1053 Ennis Road, Ennismore)

• Jones Beach ( 908 Jones Beach Road, Bridgenorth)

• Lakefield (100 Hague Boulevard,  Lakefield)

• Quarry Bay (1986 Northey’s Bay Rd,  Woodview)

• Sandy Beach (Lakehurst Road, Curve Lake)

• Selwyn (2251 Birch Island Road, Selwyn)

• Warsaw Caves (289 Caves Rd, Warsaw)

• White’s Beach (Clearview Dr, Galway)

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