Cooling off in the water at English Bay, Jericho Beach or Sunset Beach this week could get you sick. (Vancouver Coastal Health)

One of Vancouver’s most beloved swim spots, Sunset Beach, is closed for swimming and other water sports due to high E. coli content.

Vancouver Coastal Health samples the water daily at beaches across Metro Vancouver, and put out an alert on Saturday, saying the West End beach is closed for swimming until further notice.

“At Sunset Beach there have been two (recent) samples exceeding 400 E. coli/100 mL,” said VCH spokesperson Gillian Hobbs.

The Aug. 8 sample showed the water had 1,375 E. coli/100mL. 

E. coli is a bacteria commonly found in fecal matter. If a person accidentally swallows or otherwise ingests water that has a high E. coli content, they may get sick with an illness such as diarrhea, ear infection, or sore throat.

If too much E. coli is found in the water samples taken from a swimming spot, health officials close the beach to protect people’s health.

“We will continue to monitor the levels and when they return to an acceptable level, the advisory will be removed,” Hobbs said.

According to the VCH website, E. coli contamination can be caused by storm-water runoff, which may create sewage overflows, and by leaky septic tanks on boats.