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SURE SIGN OF SUMMER

- Beach Testing Starts For Another Year; Area Residents Urged to Check with Health Unit For Weekly Results -

While summer does not officially arrive for a few more days, there’s a sign the nice weather is almost here.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has launched its weekly beach testing program for another year. Between now and the end of August, Health Unit staff will take water samples at 49 public beaches in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County and Northumberland County each week.

Water samples from these beaches will be sent to the public health lab in Peterborough each week to test for bacteria such as E.coli. Test results will be sent back to the Health Unit, and Public Health Inspectors will determine if the water quality at a beach is safe for swimming and public use.

If bacterial levels in the water are higher than those considered acceptable by the Ontario government, the beach will be ‘POSTED’ as unsafe for swimming. ‘POSTED’ signs will also be put up along the beach to show it is unsafe for public use.

Beach test results are also available through the Health Unit, and are updated each week by late Thursday or early Friday. Local residents can obtain results by contacting their local Health Unit office in Lindsay (705-324-3569), Haliburton Village (705-457-1391), Port Hope (905-885-9100) or Brighton (613-475-0933). They can also call toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 or visiting the Health Unit website (www.hkpr.on.ca). People are also encouraged to follow the Health Unit on Twitter (@HKPRDHU) and Facebook, as beach test results will also be shared through these social media sites.

“We encourage people to check with the Health Unit on a regular basis to see if local beaches are safe for public use,” says Richard Ovcharovich, Manager of Environmental Health with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Under certain circumstances, if bacterial counts are high enough, beaches can pose a health risk for swimmers.”

Beaches marked ‘POSTED’ are not the only sign that it may not be safe to swim. Bacterial counts in the water can increase due to heavy rain, high winds or wave activity, and a large number of birds such as geese or seagulls nesting near the beach, Ovcharovich says. Other warning signs, such as floating debris, oil, discoloured water, bad odours and excessive weed growth, can also indicate the beach is unsafe to use, he adds.

Please note that sample results reflect the water quality only at the time of sampling. The water samples can take between two to three days to process and results are therefore not displayed in real time. Changes in water quality can occur very rapidly and frequently. The sampling results that are provided are for informational purposes only.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Richard Ovcharovich, Manager of Environmental Health, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 324-3569,

or Christopher Beveridge, Director of Environmental Health, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100.

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