A water advisory has been issued for Marina Way Beach in Penticton.
On Tuesday, the city said testing done last week revealed higher-than-normal levels of bacteria at the beach, located at the south end of Okanagan Lake.
According to the city, testing on May 18 found 890 units of E. coli per 100 millilitres, with retesting done on May 22 finding the same amount.
The count of 890 colony-forming E. coli units is just over double the acceptable amount of 400 units per 100 millimetres.
Interior Health, however, noted that while 400 is the current limit of what’s acceptable, as summer nears and more people begin accessing local lakes, the limit gets lowered.
Other testing done by Interior Health for Penticton had an E.coli count of 150 at one Okanagan Lake Beach site on May 18. That amount was found to be acceptable.
Two other Okanagan Lake Beach sites tested on May 18 had counts of 48 and 28, respectively, while two sites at Skaha Beach had counts of 43 and 46.
“The advisory has been posted to warn swimmers about the situation at Okanagan Lake Marina Way Beach,” the city said.
“The possibility of illness increases with the bacteria level. Authorities do not believe anyone will become sick, but are still asking swimmers to take a number of precautions.”
Swimmers are being asked to:
- Avoid swallowing lake water;
- Wash their hands before handling food;
- And to not swim with an open cut or if ill.
Further, the city says swimming isn’t suggested if conditions exist where bacteria could be washed onto the shore, such as strong winds or high lake levels.