Beach signs are posted at all Huron County public beaches. Water quality can change hourly. The signs encourage beach goers to make an informed decision about beach water quality before swimming.
The Huron County Health Unit regularly samples the beaches for bacteria. However, due to the delay in receiving lab results, beach goers cannot rely on only lab results to know if it is safe to swim. The information below will help you predict the quality of beach water during your visit.
Rain is the single biggest factor to impact on beach water quality. Rain washes contaminants into streams, rivers, and lakes. While small amounts of rainfall are unlikely to have much impact, the health unit advises you to avoid swimming for 24 to 48 hours after heavy rains.
Wind can quickly build up significant waves. Wave action on any body of water can stir up sand and silt making the water cloudy. This releases E. coli that live in the beach sand. If you can’t see your feet at waist height of an adult, bacteria levels may be higher.
Waterfowl (seagulls, geese etc.)
In some smaller bodies of water, or more confined areas of large lakes, the feces of waterfowl can have a significant impact on water quality.
Wet Sand and Shallow Water
Shallow bodies of water are likely to be warmer than deeper ones during the summer. Warm temperatures are more favourable for bacterial survival or growth. Bacteria levels tend to be higher in wet sand as well. Be sure to use a hand sanitizer or wash hands after playing at water’s edge.
Never swallow beach water no matter how clear!
If you have a question, call us at 519.482.3416 or toll free 1.877.837.3416. Ask to speak to a public health inspector on the Environmental Health team. Or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.