Beach Water Testing
York Region monitors the water quality at local public beaches. Water sampling is done in the summer starting in mid-June and continues until the end of August. A minimum of five samples are collected from each beach once a week and tested for bacteria.
A red sign at the beach indicates that levels of E. coli bacteria in the water are high enough to pose a greater risk to your health. This is a warning that swimming in the water may cause illness. In this case, the beach's status is shown as "Posted".
A blue sign at the beach indicates that the sample result shows the bacterial levels to be within acceptable limits. (Water Quality Acceptable) Blue signs on the beach also warn swimmers not to swim for two days after a heavy rainfall. Bacteria can increase after heavy rainfalls and be harmful. High waves can also stir up bacteria. Environment Canada rates rainfall as:
- Heavy: More than 7.55 mm per hour
- Medium: 2.6 to 7.5 mm per hour
- Light: Less than 2.5 mm per hour
If you cannot see your feet when standing in water up to your knees it may be unsafe to swim due to the level of bacteria in the water.
Beach Water Testing Results
The Regional Municipality of York’s beach water sampling program has ended for the 2016 season.
York Region Public Health monitors water quality and bacterial levels at 15 public beaches during the summer months to ensure the water is safe for swimming.
During periods when high levels of bacteria are estimated, York Region Public Health posts warning signs at the beach advising residents the water is unsafe for swimming. High levels of bacteria in the water can cause skin, ear, eye, nose and throat infections as well as stomach disorders. When the bacterial levels in the water return to an acceptable level for swimming, the signs are removed.
For further information about recreational water quality in York Region contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933.
Why Monitor Beach Water?
Beaches are monitored to protect swimmers from illnesses that may be linked to high bacteria levels. Swimming in water with high bacteria levels can result in an increased risk of infection of the ears, eyes, nose and throat or stomach illnesses if the water is swallowed. These types of illnesses are called recreational water illnesses. Obeying the signs posted at the beaches could reduce the risk of recreational water illness.
What can you do to help keep the beach water clean?
- If you live near the beach make sure your plumbing fixtures are properly connected to your local municipal sewers or private sewage disposal system
- Fence livestock away from streams in farming communities
- Maintain runoff from feedlots and manure piles
- Do not feed animals or birds on the beach
- Do not leave your garbage behind when you visit the beach
- Obey local “stoop and scoop” bylaws
- Whenever boating practice pollution-free boating
- Do not go into the water if you have an infection or open wound
Monitored Public Beach Locations
- Claredon Beach Park
- De La Salle Park
- Franklin Beach
- Glenwoods Park
- Holmes Point Park
- Sheppard Avenue Park
- Jackson’s Point Beach
- Bonnie Park
- Church Street Parkette
- North Gwillimbury Park
- Peninsula Resort
- Riverview Park
- Willow Beach Park
- Willow Wharf Dock
- Cedar Beach