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Swimming advisory warning of elevated bacteria levels lifted for Kelowna beach

The City of Kelowna says a swimming advisory for Strathcona Beach has been lifted.
The City of Kelowna says a swimming advisory for Strathcona Beach has been lifted. Google Maps

UPDATE: A swimming advisory warning of elevated bacteria levels for Strathcona Beach in Kelowna has been lifted.

The City of Kelowna lifted the advisory on Wednesday, stating water quality testing indicates the beach meets the guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality.

The city says a swimming advisory is typically issued when bacterial counts exceed swimming guidelines and may increase the risk of illness if the water is ingested.

According to the city, beach water quality can fluctuate due to a number of factors including lake currents, runoff, changing environmental factors and waterfowl and animal waste.

“It is typically poorer in the summer when the warm weather escalates bacterial growth and swimmers stir up the lake bottom,” the city said in a press release.

The city says to help enhance beach water quality please:

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  • Do not feed the birds.
  • Do not take your pet to the beach; dogs are only permitted at the Cedar Creek Park beach.
  • Do not litter – dispose of all waste in garbage cans.
  • Change diapered children frequently in the bathroom, not at the beach.
  • Dispose of boat sewage in onshore sanitary facilities.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet or after changing diapers.
  • Do not swim if you have diarrhea.
  • Call 71-PARKS if you see something that needs attention.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A swimming advisory for elevated bacterial levels has been issued for a beach in Kelowna.

Interior Health issued the advisory for Strathcona Beach on Friday, stating that bacterial levels are higher than those allowed by a water quality guideline.

On its beach advisories webpage, Interior Health said the cause of the advisory was unacceptable water quality results.

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The City of Kelowna says the beach on Abbot Street is not closed, though swimming advisory signs have been posted.

In a press release, the city said the very young, the elderly and people with weakened immunity are the most susceptible to infection related to bacterial counts in the water.

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“It’s expected that one per cent of bathers may potentially develop gastrointestinal (stomach) illness if water is ingested,” said the city.

“Eye, ear and throat symptoms, as well as skin rashes (not swimmer’s itch), can occur more frequently.”

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“We are asking the public not to swim or engage in water-related recreation activities at Strathcona Beach until the water quality advisory has been lifted,” said Blair Stewart, city park services manager.

“Most people would be fine, but there is that one per cent who could become ill if they ingest the water.”

The city said other Kelowna beaches are not under a swimming advisory, and that they all meet recreational water quality guidelines.

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It added that beach water quality can fluctuate due to a number of different factors including currents, runoff, creek outflows, and waterfowl.

The city said it and Interior Health sample water quality at higher risk beaches, with no fewer than five samples in a 30-day period.

The city also said when bacteria levels have returned to acceptable levels, the swimming advisory will be lifted.