Beach and Recreational Water Testing
Local Beach Water Monitoring Results
Beach water sampling has ended for this season and will resume in May 2024
Each year from June to August, the HKPR District Health Unit conducts regular testing of beaches and recreational water within the City of Kawartha Lakes, County of Haliburton and Northumberland County to ensure the water is safe for swimming. Test results are then shared on this website and via the Health Unit’s social media accounts.
Before heading to the beach, make sure it’s safe for swimming.
Select a County below to check beach water results near you.
Contaminated Beach Water
There are a number of ways that beaches can become contaminated with bacteria. Storm water runoff, combined with sewer overflows, sewage treatment plant bypasses, agricultural runoff, faulty septic systems, and large populations of waterfowl like geese all contribute to water pollution which can result in beach postings.
Beach postings are most likely to occur after rain storms or prolonged hot weather. Rain water washes fecal material from cats, dogs, birds and other wildlife into storm sewers which flow directly into nearby rivers and lakes. Prolonged hot weather conditions promote the growth of the bacteria in the water.
Water temperature also has a significant effect on bacterial levels. Shallow beaches will have warmer water and a higher potential for bacterial growth.
You can play a role in making local beaches safer to use. Here are some suggestions on how to reduce water contamination:
- Pet owners should observe the “stoop and scoop” bylaws as domestic pet waste is a major source of bacteria in storm water.
- Allow water from eavestroughs to discharge onto lawns. This reduces the amount of rainwater going directly into the sewer system.
- Reduce household water use. This avoids capacity problems at sewage treatment plants that could result in untreated sewage entering lakes and rivers.
- Fence livestock away from streams and provide them with an alternative source of water. This will benefit both the health of the herd and the environment.
- Ensure that runoff from feedlots and manure piles are properly contained.
- Upgrade septic systems and keep them in good working order.
Bacteria and viruses are some of the most common contaminants found in beach water. Local beach waters are tested for E. coli bacteria, which is an indicator that there is fecal contamination present from animals, humans, or both. E. coli, as well as other disease-causing organisms, can cause intestinal illness or infections of the eyes, ears, nose, or throat.
To protect yourself and your family from the health hazards of contaminated beach water, it is important to be aware of water quality conditions and avoid swimming when the water quality is poor. It is also important to take precautions such as showering after swimming, and avoiding swallowing or coming into contact with the water. If you do experience any health symptoms after swimming in beach water, please seek medical attention.