Updated: The Deep Cove beach is now open for swimming, according to the latest report by Vancouver Coastal Health. VCH is now advising residents to swim at their own risk in the Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver, where E.coli levels have been recorded as high. You can check beach reports on VCH website.
Planning a dip in the beach at Deep Cove? Do so at your own risk.
The latest water sample for Deep Cove beach has shown E.coli levels that are over the safe limit, prompting VCH to advise people to swim at their own risk. High counts of E. coli in recreational water may increase the chances of gastrointestinal illnesses and skin/eye infections.
A re-sampling is underway.
A mean of five samples that is over 200 E.coli\100 mL or a single sample that shows level of E.coli 400\100 mL is considered to be high for swimming and other sports such as surfing, paddle boarding, anything in which the whole body is immersed and water is likely to be swallowed.
VCH recorded an E.coli level of 464\100 mL in the Deep Cove Beach on July 10, prompting the warning. Those who want to swim could go to the nearby Cates Park Beach, where E.coli levels were recorded on the same day as less than 10\100mL.
Deep Cove beach is the only one in the North Shore where E.coli levels are high enough to require a VCH risk warning. There are only two other beaches in Metro Vancouver which have shown high E.coli levels and have been deemed unfit for swimming — Snug Cove beach and Sunset Beach.
According to a Metro Vancouver report, the water quality reports last year were satisfactory for most bathing beaches, although swimming advisories were posted for two to seven days at several beaches in Vancouver and at Whytecliff Park and Sandy Cove beaches on the North Shore. With the exception of 2014, the past 10 years have shown an E.coli level well within limits for swimming and other sports.
VCH takes samples at 113 sites and 41 beach locations across the region to test for E.coli, a bacterium that is commonly found in the intestinal tract of animals and humans. Common sources of E.coli contamination in recreational waters may include raw, untreated feces from humans, pets and birds; sanitary sewer overflows; malfunctions in wastewater collection or treatment systems; improperly maintained septic tanks; and release of raw sewage from boat-holding tanks.
High counts on beaches may increase the chances of gastrointestinal, upper respiratory illnesses, and skin or eye infection. The main symptoms of an E.coli infection are bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, but VCH says it is not a given that you will get sick if you go into water that is under advisory.
But anytime you are getting into water with high E.coli, you are increasing your chances of getting sick, especially if you swallow water or get water in the nose, eyes, ears, or an open wound. There is no way to say for sure whether or not you will get sick if you go into water that is under advisory, but you will have a higher chance of getting sick.
The risk of getting sick is higher if you swallow water or get water in the nose, eyes, ears or an open wound. Examples of possible illness include stomach upset, ear infection, sore throat, or wound infection.