May 2023 Board of Health Meeting - Recreational Water Inspections and Beach Monitoring Information Report

Meeting Document Type
Information Report
Recreational Water Inspections and Beach Monitoring


Environmental Health


May 18, 2023


Recreational Water Inspections and Beach Monitoring


The Environmental Health Department conducts inspections of recreational water facilities in Windsor and Essex County (WEC), as a part of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s Safe Water Program. This mandatory program contributes to the prevention and reduction of water-borne illnesses, and operates under the requirements outlined in the Recreational Water Protocol, 2019 and the Operational Approaches for Recreational Water Guideline, 2018. Recreational water facilities that are routinely inspected within this program include public pools, splash pads, water slides, and spas. Seasonal beach monitoring is also conducted, which includes surveillance of water and weather conditions, and potential pollutants, as well as weekly water sampling to test for Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacteria that can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

The chart below is a summary of the number and type of public recreational water facilities that require inspection in WEC.
Type of Facility Total in WEC (2023)
Spa 17
Spray/ Splash Pad 31
Class A Pool
Class B Pool
Class C Pool
Water Slide 1
Wave Action Pool 2
Public Beach 8*

* This is a decrease from 9 beaches sampled in 2022

Recreational Water Facilities Summary

A summary of completed inspections for recreational water facilities (excluding public beaches) in 2022 and 2023 is outlined in the chart below.
Type of Inspection # of Inspections Completed in 2022 # of Inspections Completed in 2023 (data pulled on April 28, 2023)
Pre-Operational Inspections 56 2
Required 232 93
Re-Inspections 45 21

2022 Beach Monitoring Summary

The 2022 beach monitoring season was a total of 16 weeks long, with weekly water testing beginning on May 24, 2022, and ending on September 6, 2022. Public Health Inspectors completed a total of 156 on-site beach assessments. There were 41 water quality warnings issued (201-999 E. coli/100 ml), and 13 beach closures (≥1000 E. coli/100 mL).

Name of Beach Warnings (2022) Closures (2022)
Belle River Beach 6 4
Cedar Beach 2 0
Cedar Island Beach 1 0
Colchester Beach 6 1
Holiday Beach 4 0
Mettawas Beach 13 5
Point Pelee North West Beach 2 1
Sandpoint Beach 3 2
Seacliff Beach 4 0
TOTAL 41 13


Recreational Water Facility Activities

As a part of pandemic recovery, in 2023, recreational water inspections have resumed routine frequency as required in the Recreational Water Protocol, 2019. Indoor pools and spas are inspected at least four times per year, and outside pools and spas will be inspected at least two times within the operating season. Splash pads and waterslides will be inspected a minimum once per year.

All routine and complaint-based inspection reports of recreational water facilities are made available on the health unit’s Disclosure Website. Reports are posted within two weeks of a completed inspection and remain posted for two years. A campaign to increase the public’s knowledge and use of the disclosure website was launched on March 27, 2023, and is set to run for a total of 9 weeks. The campaign includes bus ads, billboards, social media ads, and radio ads.

Beach Assessments and Testing

Public Health Inspectors will conduct pre-season beach assessments mid-May, with weekly surveillance and water sampling beginning May 23, 2023. Mettawas Beach is no longer designated as a public beach and will not be included in beach monitoring this season. Beach water sampling will take place every Monday (or Tuesday if Monday is a holiday) and results will be made available on the health unit’s Beach Water Testing webpage by Tuesday or Wednesday of the same week. Results will also posted to the Beach Hotline (ext. 1490). If a beach is closed due to high E. coli levels, the beach will be resampled on Wednesday of the same week, with results made available by end of day Friday.