What you need to know about beach water quality in Simcoe-Muskoka
Beach Water Quality Testing in Simcoe-Muskoka - What you need to know
Beach water quality testing is done through the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit program, starting in June and running through until the Labour Day weekend in September.
During routine testing, samples are taken from 52 popular beaches across the region and tested for e-coli bacteria.
Elevated levels of bacteria can result in the beach being posted with a warning sign - it could be a swimming advisory, or it could be closed.
In the case of an advisory, swimmers are at a greater risk of developing a minor rash; eye, ear, nose or throat infections; or a stomach illness. If you do swim, you are urged to avoid dunking your head. Swimmer should never swallow the water, whether the beach is posted or not.
When samples are taken - a visual inspection is also done to monitor for other safety issues - such as too many weeds, oil, floating debris, turbidity and blue-green algae blooms.
Outside of routine periodic tests, samples are also taken as a follow up to an advisory, or after a complaint from the public.
Not all beaches are part of the sampling program - you can find out if your favourite beach is tested Here at the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit and Provincial Park beaches (Wasaga, Awenda and others) is done by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. You can find out more Here at the Ontario Parks website.