Swimming Season Kicks Off at Local Beaches

Written by Comms Team, June 23, 2022

Public Health Inspectors Testing Water Quality

The weather has warmed up, kicking off swimming season at local beaches and the return of water quality testing by Peterborough Public Health (PPH).

Public beaches in Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations, and in the County and City of Peterborough will be regularly tested to ensure water quality conditions are safe for recreational use.

The routine surveillance program for all public beaches runs from mid-June until the end of August. The city beaches at Rogers Cove and Beavermead Park are sampled daily, Monday to Friday, and public beaches in the county are sampled at least once a week, except for Chandos Beach, Quarry Bay Beach, White’s Beach, Belmont Lake Beach and Kasshabog Lake Beach which are sampled at least once in June, July and August.

Though PPH will always maintain its sampling schedule, the following factors may result in high levels of bacteria causing the beach to be unsafe for swimming between sampling periods:

  • Heavy rainfall
  • Large numbers of water fowl
  • High winds or wave activity
  • Large numbers of swimmers

There are several things that you can do to help ensure the water quality stays safe:

  • Do not feed waterfowl
  • Do not let children swim in soiled diaper
  • Pick up your garbage
  • Clean up after your pet

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

How to Interpret Water Quality Results

When E. coli levels* are less than or equal to 200 E. coli cfu/100mL of water, the public beach is considered “safe”. When E. coli levels* exceed
200 E. coli cfu/100mL of water, the public beach will be posted as “unsafe”.


This means the water is unsafe for recreational use, including swimming.  When this happens, PPH will update the beach status on our website and post signs around the beach area to inform the public. An unsafe beach is re-sampled within one business day and the signage is removed when
E. coli returns to acceptable levels.

When a significant risk to human health is identified, a beach will be posted as “closed”. Beach closures are rare, and occur when there are signs of hazardous or infectious material in the water, a toxic spill, or when there is blue-green algae bloom.

In these situations, swimming is not permitted and beach access is restricted or denied.

*Indicated levels are based on the geometric mean of five samples. A single sample of greater than 400 cfu/100mL will also impact the beach status.

Residents can find the status of public beaches at any time by visiting the Beach Testing Results page on  www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca or by calling 705-743-1000, ext. 232 during office hours.

For a complete list and an interactive map of all the beaches that will be tested for the 2022 summer months, please visit the Beach Testing page on www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.


For further information, please contact:
Sarah Gill
A/ Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 352