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Public Beaches

Beach water testing

Our beach sampling program has ended for 2019 and will resume in June 2020.

Every summer between June and September (Labour Day weekend), we collect water samples from public beaches within Simcoe and Muskoka. We test the water samples for levels of E. coli bacteria. When elevated levels of E. coli are present in the water samples, the beach may be posted with an advisory warning indicating it is unsafe for swimming, or the beach may be closed. Bacteria levels can increase in recreational beach water due to heavy rainfall, cloudy water, a large number of swimmers, a large number of birds, shallow water, wet sand, wind and high waves.

Beach water may also be unsafe due to excessive weed growth, oil, floating debris, turbidity and blue-green algae blooms. In addition to water sampling, we conduct observational safety assessments of beaches as part of our summer beach program. To help protect your health, please see the list of designated beaches included in our sampling program and their status.

 LEGEND:

safe-to-swim This beach is open.

Due to the delay in receiving lab results, you cannot rely only  on water samples to know if it’s safe to swim. Learn how to make an informed decision about beach water quality before swimming.

advisory A swimming advisory is posted.

During a swimming advisory, the beach is posted with warning signs that the most recent water samples showed bacteria in numbers that may increase your risk of developing minor skin, eye, ear, nose or throat infections or stomach illness. If you choose to swim during a swimming advisory avoid dunking your head or swallowing the water.

beach-closedThis beach is closed.

A beach is closed when a significant risk to health and safety has been identified or when a potential adverse event occurs such as a sewage or chemical spill. Beach closures are rare.

 *Provincial Park beaches (i.e.Wasaga Beach) are monitored by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. Beach water quality for these parks can be viewed here:  http://www.ontarioparks.com

Testing results by area

Bracebridge
Clearview
Collingwood
Georgian Bay
Gravenhurst
Huntsville
Innisfil
Lake of Bays
Muskoka Lakes
New Tecumseth
Orillia
Oro-Medonte
Penetanguishene
Severn

Inspection types

  • Routine: A regularly scheduled water sample collection and inspection of the beach.
  • Follow-Up: When previous water samples have shown high levels of bacteria, follow-up tests are taken.
  • Complaint: An inspection is conducted when we receive a complaint about a public beach.

 

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