Popular swimming area near Regina shut down due to E. coli contamination
The Sherwood Forest swimming area, located about 20 km northwest of Regina, is normally filled with people in mid-August, but the man-made pond is currently closed.
The pond was shut down and the water is being drained after tests showed it was contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region confirmed four people who were in the pond were affected by E. coli.
“The first case came in the beginning of July, second case shortly afterward, the third case came toward the third week of July, and the last case was the first week of August,” Robert Schuba, the manager of the city’s Environmental Public Health Unit, said.
The swimming area is located by campsites and the golf course at the Sherwood Forest Golf and Country Club.
Unlike swimming pools in the city, the health region doesn’t have specific regulations for man-made ponds.
Schuba said the only reason why RQHR got involved is because they saw a link between the cases of E. coli.
“This is a man-made facility — it’s not a swimming pool. It’s not mandated under the swimming pool regulations — it more closely resembles what we would call a pond,” Schuba said.
“The [pools] that are regulated, the outdoor pools, we haven’t had any cases of E.coli.”
RQHR Deputy Medical Health Officer Maurice Hennink said people shouldn’t stop using man-made swimming areas or lakes because they are worried about E. coli, but suggests swimmers be aware of their surroundings.
“If you go into natural bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, streams and ponds and so on, there could be contamination, because it’s a naturally occurring organism,” Hennink said.
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Chloe Watrich took her 17-month-old son Owen to the Sherwood Forest swimming area earlier in July. He was one of those who got sick after ingesting the water.
“He started showing symptoms about two or three days later, which involved bloody diarrhea and severe stomach cramps that kept him up. He was clearly in pain, [with] a little bit of nausea,” Watrich said.
Owen was sick for 10 days before returning to his normal self.
“I feel like I’ve bubble-wrapped him a little bit for the last few weeks, but that is the thing about being a parent — you can’t just live in paralyzed fear of these things happening… because they can and they do,” she said.
Watrich is not sure if she will return to Sherwood Forest swimming area after her toddler’s illness.
“I can’t say I’ll be back… I’m glad that they drained it and I hope there’s a safe way to contain [the bacteria],” she said.
Global News contacted Sherwood Forest Golf and Country Club but no one was available for comment.
Schuba says that they took the right actions and it’s likely the swimming area will be closed for the season.
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