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For Immediate Release: 
Friday, June 3, 2016

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will begin the beach water quality testing of 10 local beaches in Windsor-Essex County on Wednesday June 8th, 2016.

Date:           Wednesday June 8, 2016
Location:  Sandpoint Beach
                     10300 Riverside Dr. East
Time:          9:30 a.m.

The Health Unit will be visiting Sand Point Beach, West Belle River Beach, Hillman Beach, North West Beach at Point Pelee, Seacliff Park Beach, Mettawas Beach, Cedar Island Beach, Cedar Beach, Colchester Beach and Holiday Beach.
Photo opportunity for media: Please call the Health Unit media contact if you would like to meet with Public Health Inspectors at Sand Point Beach for the beach water sampling demonstration.
 
Each year the Health Unit monitors 10 public beaches by collecting water samples weekly from mid-June to September. These samples are tested for E.coli bacteria counts. The results are posted to the Health Unit website at www.wechu.org and can be accessed by calling the Health Unit beach hotline at 519-258-2146 ext. 426. The public beach must post a warning or a closure sign if the beach results show higher than acceptable levels of E. coli bacteria.
“The public needs to know the risks of waterborne illnesses in order to decide if their family should go swimming or stay on the beach. It’s important to read and follow the warnings on the signs” says Jenny Tan, Public Health Inspector with the Health Unit. “Avoid swimming after a heavy rainfall as pollution in beach water is often much higher during and immediately after rainstorms”.

Beach water sample results take up to two days to process. Water samples are taken every Wednesday. This is an all-day event, as there are 10 beaches to test. The samples are sent to the public health lab in London, Ontario and the results are available and updated on our website and beach hotline by Friday.

“Swimming or playing in unsafe water may result in minor illnesses such as sore throats, skin infections or diarrhea. It may also result in more serious illness such as bloody diarrhea, respiratory infections, hepatitis etc., especially in children, elderly and those with weakened immune system.” says Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

How can you stay safe at the beach?

  • Check for beach results online or by calling our beach hotline (519- 258-2146 ext. 426) before going to the beach.
  • Read and obey the signs posted at the beach.
  • Don’t go swimming if you can’t see your feet underwater when you’re standing in waist deep water.
  • Don’t go swimming if the water is rough, cloudy or green.
  • Don’t swim for at least 48 hours after a heavy rainfall or wind.
  • Look for drainage pipes at the beach and avoid swimming near them.
  • If you think you may have become ill from beach water, be sure to see your health care provider.

For background information visit the Health Unit’s Beach Safety webpage.

The beach hotline informing the public of water quality results is 519-258-2146 ext. 426. Visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for current beach water results all season long!

Media Contact: 

Communications Department
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (NEWS)
news@wechu.org