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Prospect Park Old Beach Water Considered Unsafe for Public

Prospect Park Old Beach Water Considered Unsafe for Public Use

With summer heating UP, people are looking to hop into the water to cool down, however according to Halton Region, Fairy Lake may not be the optimal spot to do this.

Halton Region regularly monitors public water to safeguard swimmers and public from hazardous water conditions, one of those water conditions being E coli.

“Escherichia coli (known as E. coli) is a group of bacteria that typically lives in the intestines of humans and animals and helps keep our guts healthy. Certain types of the bacteria, however, can occasionally cause severe illness,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health effects of E coli can include:

  • abdominal cramping

  • sudden, severe watery diarrhea that may change to bloody stools

  • gas

  • loss of appetite or nausea

  • vomiting (uncommon)

  • fatigue

  • fever

On July 11th, 2019, according to Halton Region’s website, the old beach at Prospect Park was tested and considered unsafe for swimming. According to Halton Region website, selection of beaches to be monitored are determined by “frequency of use for swimming and other water activities”.

After the test done last Thursday, Halton Region determined that “Prospect Park Old Beach is currently posted as unsafe due to elevated levels of E. coli greater than the Ministry of Health guideline, indicating the beach water quality is not suitable for recreational use.” explains Dr. Joanna Oda, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Halton Region.

Beaches are tested with “a minimum of five water samples per beach are collected once a week. Samples are analyzed for E. coli bacteria by the Provincial Public Health Laboratory. The results of the water samples indicate the quality of the beach water at the time the beach was sampled. During sampling algae growth is monitored by visual observation of the water.”

Beaches are considered unsafe if they meet any, but are not limited to the following criteria

  • Average level of E. coli greater than the Ministry guideline of 200 E. coli/100mL of water, or a single sample of E. coli higher than the Ministry guideline of 400 E. coli/100mL of water;

  • Chemical, oil, sewage or other waste spill;

  • Waste water treatment plant bypass (unintentional or controlled);

  • Blue-green algae bloom (confirmed by visual observation or laboratory test);

  • Heavy algae growth or accumulation other than blue-green algae;

  • Fish or other wildlife die-off at the beach; or

  • Visible debris, metal, or sharp objects in the water or beach area

Circumstances that can effect water quality can range from pet waste, large populations of geese, seagulls or other birds, boating waste, agricultural manure run-off, warm water temperatures, malfunctioning private sewage disposal, and seasonal and storm surface run-off.

Regional Councillor Clark Somerville commented “I have not seen the results, but we usually seem to end up with closures after heavy rain storms like we just had after the lake receives a lot of runoff. Hopefully the weather helps and our next test is clear.”

Dr. Joanna Oda clarifies that Halton Regions Health Department has “not closed Fairy Lake. The Health Department monitors and samples the bathing area of Prospect Park Old Beach in Fairy Lake once a week. The beach will be re-sampled on July 18.”


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