Beach Water Sampling
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit conducts beach water sampling in accordance with Recreational Water Protocol, 2019 and following the Operational Approaches for Recreational Water Guideline, 2018. The 2020 season of beach water sampling was deferred prior to the season start due to reallocation of Environmental Health Department resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beach Water Sampling will resume for the 2021 season. The Environmental Health Department conducts water sampling of all nine (9) public beaches in Windsor and Essex County from June to September. Public beaches that are part of the beach water quality monitoring program include: Cedar Beach; Cedar Island Beach; Colchester Beach; Holiday Beach; Mettawas Beach; Point Pelee North West Beach; Sandpoint Beach; Seacliff Beach; West Belle River Beach. Each week, bacteriological samples are collected across the beach front and tested for Escherichia coli (E. coli). E.Coli exposure can lead to severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Water conditions, weather, and potential pollutants are also monitored and documented by Public Health Inspectors as these factors, among others, impact water sampling results.
Pre-season Public Beach Assessments will be completed in early June, and beach assessments and sampling will be conducted weekly afterwards and continue until the season end in mid-September. All beach assessments and sampling will be done by 2 PHIs on Monday’s (or Tuesdays if Monday is a holiday).
Beaches with bacteria counts that exceed 1000 E. coli per 100 mLs will be posted with a sign indicating the beach is closed after the initial sampling, and re-sampled on Thursday to permit for re-opening of public beaches before the weekend if satisfactory results were returned. Beaches with bacteria counts exceeding 200 E.Coli per 100 mLs (but less than 1000 E. Coli per 100 mLs) will be posted with a warning sign, but will remain open and not be resampled.
The Environmental Health Department will update the Beach Hotline (519-258-2146 ext. H2O) and the Interactive Beach Map located on the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit website https://www.wechu.org/your-environment/beaches-pools-and-spas/beaches throughout the season once routine weekly sampling begins. In addition, community agencies are emailed the results.