Health Unit To Test Beach Water Quality More Frequently

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will be doing more water quality testing at the region's 10 local beaches this coming swim season.

The Unit currently tests once a week on Wednesday; that'll be changed to Tuesday with a second test done on Thursday if high levels of bacteria are found.

The goal is to cut down on the number of beach closures on weekends when the public wants to swim.

This from the Manager of Health Inspection, Phil Wong, who says they want to avoid unnecessary closures.

"The beaches, they are affected by wind, by rain and all that. So hopefully by adding this initiative of doing the re-sample for the closed beaches twice a week, hopefully we'll be able to open these beaches up so the community can enjoy all those beaches we have."

Director of Health Protection Theresa Marentette says the Town of Kingsville was the first municipality to ask for extra testing.

"Ultimately, we follow our beach management guidance documents to ensure this water is safe for swimming. We have made some alterations and are able to re-test any beaches that are closed, maybe post it as an advisory or an open beach for the Friday afternoon."

Mike Tudor is with the Health Inspection Department at the Health Unit as well and says there's a number of factors at play which can change water quality day to day.

"Wind action, rainfall, you're having affluent flush into around the beaches, bird activity, animal activity around the beaches also contribute to the high levels of E. coli counts and potential for pathogenic organisms in the water."

The Health Unit expects the financial impact of the additional testing to be very minimal.

In 2016, between June and September there were just six closures at local beaches with 67 posted days, meaning swim with caution.