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Sudbury’s health unit begins public beach water testing

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is conducting the pre-seasonal assessment of all 34 public beaches in the area to ensure the beach is suitable for public recreational use. (File) Public Health Sudbury & Districts is conducting the pre-seasonal assessment of all 34 public beaches in the area to ensure the beach is suitable for public recreational use. (File)
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Public Health Sudbury & Districts is conducting the pre-seasonal assessment of all 34 public beaches in the area to ensure the beach is suitable for public recreational use.

In a news release June 6, the health unit said tests includes sampling the water for E. coli and conducting safety checks for hazards that would render the beach area unsafe.

Testing will occur from June 10-19.

“Throughout the summer, Public Health Sudbury & Districts regularly samples the water at local public beaches,” the release said.

“Once routine sampling commences, inspection results and beach status from across our service area can be viewed by visiting the Check Before You Go! website.

“The water samples collected will be analyzed for E. coli bacteria, which normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals. The presence of this bacteria above acceptable levels can be an indication of fecal pollution, which could come from stormwater runoff, pets, or wildlife.”

Anyone who ingests water with high concentrations of E. coli could experience an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.

“If water samples show elevated concentrations of bacteria, Public Health will post signs warning the public that the beach is unsafe for swimming and more frequent sampling will be collected to monitor the water quality at the beach,” the health unit said.

“The swimming advisory signs will remain until tests show that the bacteria levels are acceptable.”

Here are some tips to keep you and your children safe in and around water this summer:

- Avoid swimming and other recreational water activities for 48 hours after heavy rainfall. E. coli levels may increase during this time.

- Always supervise children in and around water and be sure to keep young children within arms’ reach.

- Make sure young children and non-swimmers wear personal floatation devices (for example, life jackets) at all times.

- Pay attention to any signs posted as they will have important information to keep you and your children safe.

- Try not to swallow the water because it could make you or your children sick.

Members of the public are asked to contact Public Health for any blue-green algae sightings or physical hazards at a public beach.

Blue-green algal blooms can have an unsightly pea soup appearance and foul smell and can produce toxins. A public health inspector will provide immediate follow-up.

For additional information regarding blue-green algae, please visit the Public Health Sudbury & Districts website.

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