Edmonton’s accidental beach fails to meet water quality standards in latest Riverkeeper test

Edmontonians take advantage of "accidental beach" as the city breaks a temperature record Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Jesse Beyer, Global News

Edmonton’s newest attraction, dubbed the accidental beach in Cloverdale, has again received a failing grade for its water quality from the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper.

The group has been testing the water for E. coli at sites along the river and posting the results online on the Swim Guide on a weekly basis.

READ MORE: Edmonton Riverkeeper tests water quality at accidental beach

The latest sample taken on Sept. 5 showed 746 colony-forming units (CFU) of E. coli per 100 millilitres of water at the Cloverdale Beach, earning the status “failed to meet water quality standards.” The status is issued when E. coli levels exceed Health Canada’s guidelines for recreational water quality, which is 200 CFU per 100 millilitres of water.

The sample taken on Aug. 28 also failed federal guidelines as it showed 238 CFU per 100 millilitres of water. However on Aug. 22, the water quality at the Cloverdale Beach earned a “green” rating of 123 CFU per 100 millilitres of water.

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“Water quality in the North Saskatchewan River has improved drastically in recent decades, but there is still work to be done,” said Hans Asfeldt, with the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper, in a news release Friday.

“It is not uncommon that water quality fails to meet Health Canada guidelines along the more downstream stretches of the river, and users should exercise discretion and know the risks before entering the water. But when conditions are right and with the appropriate precautions, the river can offer excellent opportunities for swimming as well as a variety of recreation activities.”

READ MORE: Police, park rangers, animal control to monitor Edmonton’s ‘accidental beach’ after complaints

Two other beaches at Laurier Park and Capilano Park also earned the failing grade in the most recent sample.

The group advises that water quality in the river changes quickly and the data only reflects the quality at the time of sampling.

The North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper group suggests that people looking for the cleanest place to swim in the river consider choosing a location further upriver such as the sandbar near the Fort Edmonton Footbridge.

According to the group’s website, water quality samples are collected by North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper and processed by Exova Group.

READ MORE: New downtown beach surprises and excites Edmontonians

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