Which Way to the Beach?

Written by admin, June 6, 2013

June 6, 2013 – Follow @PCCHU for Beach Water Quality Updates

With the official summer countdown underway, Public Health Inspectors from Peterborough Public Health have begun regular inspections of area public beaches to ensure water quality conditions are safe for the upcoming months.

Peterborough residents are able to check the most recent status of all beaches at any time by visiting www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca or by calling Public Health at 705-743-1000 to ensure the beach they are using meets the requirements for healthy water quality.  Residents are also encouraged to follow Public Health on Twitter @PCCHU for beach updates throughout the summer.

Each June marks the start of the routine surveillance program for all public beaches that runs 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 and Quarry Bay Beach which are sampled at least once in June, July and August.

Water samples are submitted to the Peterborough Public Health Laboratory for bacteriological analysis.  The water samples are tested for Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, an indicator of fecal contamination in the water. It takes approximately 24 hours for Public Health 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, Public Health will post signs around the beach area to inform the public not 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 2013 summer months;

City of Peterborough Beaches:
• Beavermead (2011 Ashburnham Drive)                     • Roger’s Cove (131 Maria Street)

Peterborough County Beaches:

  • Chandos Beach (Hwy 620, North Kawartha)
  • 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)
  • Hiawatha (1 Lakeshore Rd, Hiawatha)
  • Lakefield (100 Hague Boulevard,  Lakefield)
  • Norwood (12 Belmont St, Norwood)
  • Quarry Bay (1986 Northey’s Bay Rd,  Woodview)
  • Sandy Beach (Lakehurst Road, Curve Lake)
  • Selwyn (2251 Birch Island Road, Selwyn)
  • Squirrel Creek Conservation Area (2445 Wallace Point Rd, South Monaghan)
  • Warsaw Caves (289 Caves Rd, Warsaw)

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 at a healthy level:

• Do not feed waterfowl

• Do not let children swim in soiled diapers
• Pick up your garbage
•Clean up after your dog


For further information, please contact:

Mandy Kwan
Public Health Inspector
705-743-1000, ext. 290