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Public Bathing Beaches

The Timiskaming Health Unit (THU) is responsible for monitoring the beach water quality within the district and has a role in identifying factors that have an impact on beach water quality. Each year, a beach pollution survey is conducted at all public access bathing beaches in the area where potential sources of pollution are identified. Routine water sampling begins in June and continues through the bathing season to the Labour Day weekend in September. Water samples are taken weekly from New Liskeard Beach and monthly from all other public bathing beaches within the health unit and are tested for bacteria levels. These samples are collected according to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Beach Management Protocol.
 
What are Public Bathing Beaches?
Public Bathing Beaches are beaches that are accessible to the public and where the public uses the beach. This does not include private beaches where access is restricted to the cottage owners or club members, etc. or where beaches are only accessible by boat, all terrain vehicles, etc.
 
Beach Water Testing and Results

The THU monitors 17 public bathing beaches throughout the area:the “beach status” will be updated if a beach has been posted and when the postings have been removed.  

Name of Beach

Beach Status

(Updated: August 3, 2017) 

Sampling Frequency

Bass Lake

Open

Monthly

Bucke Park

Open

Monthly

Charlton

Open

Monthly

Crystal Beach

Open

Monthly

Culver Park Beach

Open

Monthly

Elk Lake Beach

Open

Monthly

Gowganda Beach

Open

Monthly

Haileybury

Open

Monthly

Larder Lake Beach

Open 

Weekly

Latchford Beach

Open

Monthly

Loon Lake

Open

Monthly

Matachewan Beach

Open

Monthly

New Liskeard

Open

Weekly

Pike Lake

Open

Monthly

Raven Park Beach

Open

Monthly

Temagami North

Open

Monthly

Temagami Public Docks

Open

Monthly

 

The beach water status is only representative of the water quality on the date sampled. Bathing water quality can quickly change due to environmental and weather conditions. 

For information on water sample results from Provincial Parks and recreational (kid’s) camps within the district, contact your local Timiskaming Health Unit office.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How are water samples collected?
A minimum of five water samples are taken per beach. The samples taken are approximately 200 metre apart at a depth of 15-30 cm below the water surface where the water is 1-1.5 metre deep.

Q: What are water samples tested for?

Water samples are analyzed for Escherchia coli (E.coli). E. coli bacteria are an indicator of fecal contamination from human and animal sources. The presence of E.coli indicates that other harmful micro-organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites may also be present.

Q: When is a beach considered unsafe for swimming?
A beach is considered not safe for swimming when an average of greater than 100 E.coli bacteria per 100 mL water were present in the latest samples. Illness can occur if surface water contaminated with E.coli is swallowed, enters ears, eyes, or nose, or comes in contact with open wounds.

Q: How will we know if a beach is unsafe for swimming? 
The municipality will be notified of the results and the following notice will be displayed in prominent positions at the beach indicating the nature of the risk. You can also consult the THU website.

Q. When are warning signs removed?
Re-samples will be taken at the beach as soon as possible. Notices will be removed when water samples following the adverse results indicate that bacteria levels have dropped again to reasonably safe levels for swimming. Notices for beaches in our district are usually removed within a few days to a week.

Q: What else should I know?
A good rule is not to swim in a lake for at least 24 hours after a heavy rainfall or when the water is very rough, particularly in urban and cottage areas or where a stream, river, or storm drain empties into the lake.

Q: What factors affect bathing water quality?

  • Environmental conditions (i.e., wind/rain/sunlight/air and water temperature)
  • Presence of waterfowl/animals 
  • Faulty septic systems
  • Agricultural/surface water runoff from land near swimming areas
  • Storm water runoff from ditches and storm sewers 

Q: How can I make beach water safer?

  • Don't use soap in the water. Soap nourishes algae and bacteria, helping them to grow.
  • Avoid attracting animals and birds by limiting the amount of food taken to the beach. Don't feed animals or birds, and securely close garbage bins.
  • Stoop and scoop after your pet.
  • Avoid using fertilizers near beach water.
  • Practice pollution-free boating and dispose of human waste hygienically.