The Timiskaming Health Unit (THU) monitors 17 public bathing beaches throughout the area.

The Public Bathing Beaches monitored by the THU:

New Liskeard Beach (Spur Line)
Bucke Centennial Park Beach
Temagami North Beach
Charlton Beach
Elk Lake Beach
Larder Lake Beach
Raven Park Beach
Culver Park Beach
Bass Lake Beach
Loon Lake Beach
Pike Lake Beach
Latchford Beach
Matachewan Beach
Gowganda Beach
Crystal Beach
Sesekinika Beach

Water samples are analyzed for E. coli, a "pollution indicator organism," which is a bacteria commonly found in human and animal excrement. If the analysis shows E. coli to be above a reasonably safe level, the bathing beach is considered unsafe for swimming and the following notice will be displayed in prominent positions at the beach indicating the nature of the risk.


When water samples following the adverse results indicate that bacteria levels have dropped again to reasonably safe levels for swimming, the warning signs will be removed and the Municipality will be advised of the status of the beach.

During these periods of increased levels of bacteria, swimmers are more likely to get skin rashes, ear, eye, and nose infections, and if swallowed, can cause gastrointestinal infections.

Sources of Pollution:
There are many sources of beach water pollution, including rain run-off, domestic pet excrement washed into the water, faulty septic systems, and wild animals living on or in the water.

Weather conditions can adversely affect the quality of the water. During heavy or prolonged periods of rain, increased levels of bacteria are often observed. High bacterial counts are also observed when there are large numbers of swimmers or strong winds which create wave action that stir up bacteria-laden sediment. Heat also encourages bacterial growth, therefore lakes are more likely to have high bacterial counts during the summer months.

A Good Rule of Thumb:
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.

Making 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.

Beach water results are updated on a weekly basis during the summer months. For results of a particular beach, contact the Municipality/township office in which the beach is located.

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.