The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit has advised the Town of Cobourg to shut down swimming at West Harbour and to post no swimming signs immediately due to high E. Coli bacteria readings found in the water.
According to SGS Canada Inc., a leading provider of comprehensive water quality testing that meets all provincial and national regulatory requirements, including the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the latest beach and harbour water quality report sampled on July 26 showed bacteria levels above 1,000 E.coli which exceeds the provincial standard of 200 E. coli.
“There is always a level of risk when swimming in natural bodies of water that are not treated for bacteria,” said Bernard Mayer, Manager of Health Protection, Environmental Health at the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. “Public swimming is not recommended as it may increase your risk of developing minor skin, eye, ear, nose or throat infections or stomach illness.”
The HKPR District Health Unit and Town of Cobourg staff both sample water once a week to monitor bacteria levels. As a result of a combination of extended high temperatures, very little rain and high concentrations of water fowl in the west harbour basin the most recent E. Coli bacteria tests results are now indicating levels that require West Harbour to close immediately.
Beginning tomorrow Town staff will be fencing off West Harbour and posting signs warning swimmers of the high E. Coli levels. Testing occurs weekly and the Town of Cobourg will advise the community once bacteria levels come back down to a safe level.
If you have been swimming in West Harbour and experience such symptoms as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea please seek medical attention.