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English Bay, 2 other Metro Vancouver beaches closed due to high E. coli levels

People sunbathe as kayakers pass by on the waters of English Bay in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday June 3, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

As Metro Vancouver bakes in what’s being called a potentially dangerous heat wave, one of the city’s premier beaches has been closed for swimming due to high E. coli levels.

The Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver Coastal Health said Friday the beach at English Bay had been closed temporarily.

Read more: Heat wave: As B.C. bakes, what role does climate change play?

The closure is driven by high levels of E. coli in the water, with a Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) water sample finding 400 E. coli per 100 millilitres of water.

Two other beaches, Snug Gove on Bowen Island and Trail 7 on the southwest perimeter of the UBC Endowment Lands, were also closed after samples averaged more than 200 E. coli/100 ml.

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Under Canadian recreational water quality guidelines, beach closures are possible when officials find a single sample that exceeds 400 E. coli per 100 ml. of water, or a five-sample average exceeding 200 E.coli per 100 ml.

Read more: Ambleside joins growing list of beaches closed due to high E. coli levels

E. coli is the same bacteria that can be found on vegetables or in beef. It is of particular concern for vulnerable populations, such as kids and seniors.

A major contributor to E. coli in the water comes from fecal matter, both human and animal.

Officials are advising the public not to swim or wade in the water until the advisory is lifted.

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