Swim advisories issued at beaches in Penticton and Shuswap due to E.coli | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Swim advisories issued at beaches in Penticton and Shuswap due to E.coli

Sunnybrae Beach is pictured in this undated photo submitted by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Columbia Shuswap Regional District
July 02, 2021 - 6:00 PM

Water quality advisories have been issued by Interior Health for two beaches — one in the South Okanagan and the other in the Shuswap — due to high levels of E.coli bacteria, likely from water fowl feces.

A water quality advisory has been posted for Okanagan Beach in Penticton between the SS Sicamous and The Peach following a test conducted, June 29, that identified higher than normal levels of E.coli bacteria, according to a City of Penticton media release issued today, July 2.

The test found 2,000 colony-forming units of E.coli per 100 ml, which is more than 1,600 units higher than the acceptable amount.

"Swimmers are asked to avoid swallowing lake water, to wash their hands before handling food and to not swim with an open cut or if ill," the city said.

Under conditions where bacteria may be washed into the water from the shore, such as strong northern winds or if the lake level is high, authorities suggest not swimming.

Meanwhile in the Shuswap, Sunnybrae Beach has also been placed on a swimming advisory due to unacceptable levels of E.coli bacteria found in routine water samples, according to a press release issued by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

The beach is not closed but Interior Health is advising the public should be made aware of the increased risk of swimming at Sunnybrae Beach, which is located in Tappen.

Swimming is not recommended at this time. The advisory will be rescinded once water samples show acceptable bacteria levels. The water at Sunnybrae Beach is routinely tested on a weekly basis.

"Interior Health reports there can be a number of reasons for elevated levels including wildlife, such as geese, causing an increase in bacteria levels. The weather can also play a factor, with heavy rains washing contaminants off the shore and into the water or temperature increasing bacterial growth," the regional district said.

Sunnybrae Beach Park will remain open, but users are advised against swimming due to the elevated risk. Young children, for example, tend to ingest a lot of water when they are at the beach so they are at higher risk.

This advisory is only in place for the Sunnybrae Beach area and does not affect the regional district's Sandy Beach or Pebble Beach in Blind Bay.

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