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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Caution Recommended for In-water Activities at Colchester Beach & Harbour

submitted by the Town of Essex

Caution is recommended for individuals interested in swimming or other in-water activities at Colchester Beach and Harbour after a recent water quality test returned with elevated levels of E. coli bacteria.

The most recent water quality test, conducted by Town staff on July 20, indicated E. coli levels of 226.5 cfu (colony forming units) per 100 milliliters of water. Swim and water recreation advisories or "warnings" are issued when samples are found to be above 200. Signage has been posted at the beach and harbour to notify visitors of current water quality advisories.

At their June 29 Special Meeting, Council supported the addition of water quality testing to be conducted by Town staff at Colchester Beach. Earlier this year, the Windsor Essex County Health Unit announced that, due to limited resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, they would cease water quality testing at nine local beaches.

According to the Health Unit:, bacterial counts from samples only reflect the conditions at the time of sampling and water quality can change from day to day depending on the weather conditions and lake levels. The Health Unit recommends not swimming if there was a recent heavy rainfall (at least 48 hours), if the water is cloudy, or if you are unable to see your feet when in the water.

While Colchester Beach is now open to the public, all users must maintain physical distancing and limit group sizes according to public health recommendations. The Town has also added additional parking and beach enforcement as well as signage to inform visitors of current beach and harbor rules.


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