Orange Rocks are Safe
A report completed by an independent company that tested samples from Cedar Creek Beach on April 12, concludes that the orange residue is caused by naturally occurring iron-related bacteria. There is no risk to pets, people or wildlife posed by the bacteria, other than possibly staining clothing. The findings were also confirmed by the Ministry of Environment.
The bacteria that surfaced at Cedar Creek as well as in areas at Rotary Beach and Kinsmen Beach is due to low lake levels and groundwater seeping to the surface containing higher than normal iron levels.
Blair Stewart, Kelowna Parks Services Manager says "It's basically iron in the ground water. Once it comes to the surface it turns into an iron-oxide which makes it a rust colour. It's no different from if you had a car that has rust."
“It’s likely that the work to mitigate flooding by proactively lowering lake levels is in large part the reason that this orange colouring has surfaced this spring,” says Stewart. “Once lake levels begin to rise, the colour will dissipate into the lake water again. Any residue remaining on the beaches will eventually dry out and may leave a rust-coloured coating on rocks in the area, but is not harmful.”
Beach water quality testing is conducted annually in Kelowna starting in the late spring and into the summer months.