With hot weather on the way this weekend for the first time this summer, many Vancouverites will be heading for the beach. Unfortunately, two popular beaches will be closed to swimming because of E. coli contamination.
Water sampling at English Bay and Locarno beaches by Vancouver Coastal Health has found bacteria levels in excess of the acceptable range.
Vancouver Park Board tweeted friday that both beaches would be closed to swimming until further notice as a result.
Each beach saw consecutive samples well over the 400-parts-per-100-millilitre level that is considered acceptable for swimming, according to the health authority’s website.
Concentrations at Locarno Beach exceeded 1,607 parts per 100 millilitres, while concentrations at English Bay Beach were over 1,785.
The only other beaches in Vancouver Coastal Health’s coverage area that are currently closed to swimming are Sandy Beach on Bowen Island and Vancouver’s Trout Lake.
Each of those beaches saw the geometric mean of E. coli levels recorded over the last five tests rise above 200 parts per 100 millilitres, which is the other way water quality testing can lead to beach closures.
Trout Lake closed to swimming on Tuesday and Sandy Beach closed Thursday.
High levels of E. coli in water can come from a variety of sources, including from contaminated stormwater runoff, leaking septic tanks and discharge from boats, according to VCH.
When bacteria concentrations are high, there is an increased risk that swimmers will suffer gastrointestinal illness or infections to the skin or eyes, the health authority says, adding that seniors, children and people with weakened immune systems are the most susceptible.