Light < 2.5 mm per hour
York Region Community and Health Services monitors water quality at York Region's public bathing beaches during the summer months to ensure that the water quality is safe for swimming. The York Region Beach Sampling Program is scheduled to begin the second week of June every year.
Community and Health Services staff will collect a minimum of five water samples from each beach sampling site once a week. These samples are tested by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Laboratories Branch, for bacterial quality. High levels of bacteria can cause skin, ear, eye, nose and throat infections as well as stomach disorders.
If bacterial counts exceed provincial guidelines (100 E.coli per 100ml of water), Community and Health Services will post a sign at the beach advising the public that the water is unsafe for swimming. Beaches will be closed when there are indications of hazardous or infectious materials present in the water, or in the event of a blue-green algae bloom. When the water is once again safe for swimming, the beach will be re-opened.
The quality of lake water can change dramatically day to day, hour to hour or even minute to minute. York Region Health Services advises users of recreational waters not to swim for up to 2 days following heavy rainfall as water may be polluted at all swimming locations with high levels of bacteria from a variety of pollution sources. Also, high wave action may stir up bacteria settled on the lake bottom. If you can't see your feet, it may not be safe to swim.
Environment Canada classifies rainfall as follows:
The following York Region beaches are tested:
- Lake Simcoe:
- Claredon Beach Park
- De La Salle Park
- Franklin Beach
- Glenwoods Park
- Holmes Point Park
- Sheppard Ave. Park
- Jackson's Point Beach / Bonnie Park
- Church Street Parkette
- North Gwillimbury Park
- Peninsula Resort
- Riverview Park
- Willow Beach Park
- Willow Wharf Dock
- Other Locations in York Region:
- Cedar Beach at Musselman's Lake in Whitchurch-Stouffville
Recreation Island at Seneca College in King City and Sunset Beach at Lake Wilcox in Richmond Hill are no longer being sampled by the Medical Officer of Health.
There are many factors that contribute to water pollution leading to beach postings at our beaches, including:
- seasonal and storm surface run-off into rivers and lakes
- sewer overflows
- agricultural manure and feedlot run-off
- malfunctioning private sewage disposal system
- domestic pet waste run-off
- large populations of waterfowl
- warm water temperatures
- boating waste
How can you help to keep our beaches clean and safe for swimming during the summer months?
- If you own a pet, please observe local "stoop and scoop" by-laws and remove dog faeces from city streets, public parks and private property
- Do not attract animals or birds to beaches by feeding them
- If you are planning an addition to your home, contact your local building department to ensure that plumbing fixtures are properly connected to municipal sanitary sewer pipes or your private sewage disposal system
- Upgrade and keep in good working order your private sewage disposal system
- In agricultural communities, fence livestock away from streams and provide them with alternate water sources
- Ensure that run-off from feedlots and manure piles is properly maintained
- Practice pollution-free boating by disposing of human wastes hygienically
- Do not go into the water if you have an infection or open wound.
Several private beach associations monitor their own beach water quality. York Region Health Services welcomes the opportunity to assist beach associations with the set-up of water sampling programs.
To find out if your favourite beach is safe for swimming or for more information about the Beach Sampling Program contact York Region Health Connection
, TTY 1-866-252-9933 (toll free) or visit the Beach Sampling Results
page on the York Region website.