Algoma Public Health
Algoma Public Health is responsible for ensuring that recreational water use in the District of Algoma, ranging from hotel pools and spas to your local area public beach are safe for swimming. APH's recreational water program does not include private pools and hot tubs.
Beach warnings in Algoma
Where and when does Algoma Public Health sample beach water?
Algoma Public Health takes water samples from the majority of public access beaches on a weekly to monthly basis each summer within the boundaries of the Health Unit. Public beaches within provincial parks are the responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Why does Algoma Public Health sample beach water?
Algoma Public Health samples beach water to prevent and reduce water-borne illnesses and injury related to recreational water use.
What does Algoma Public Health sample for?
Algoma Public Health samples the beaches for Escherichia coli (E. Coli). E. Coli are bacteria that are commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals.
If Algoma Public health posts a beach, does this mean the beach is closed?
Posting a beach is the placement of signs to inform the public about potential risks to health and safety. A beach may be posted if the test results indicate that there is an increased level of E. Coli present in the beach water, a potential health concern. The beach is not closed, and is to be used at swimmer's own risk. Algoma Public Health will only close a beach if there is a safety concern that could lead to injury of a person or the water quality has a consistent history of elevated bacteria.
What can happen if I swim at a posted beach?
If you choose to swim when a beach is posted, you are more susceptible to getting a water-borne illness. This could be an upset stomach, swimmer's ear, or even worse.
What factors affect the beach water quality?
- Air temperature
- Water temperature
- Rainfall / Intensity
- Wave height
- and other pollution sources.
- Wind speed and direction
- Water clarity
- Birds, animals and pets
- Human activity
How does Algoma Public Health let the public know the results?
- Posting signs at beach entrances;
- Posting information on the Algoma Public Health website;
- Issuing media releases to local new sources including the APH Facebook page; and
- Informing townships or owners of the beach.
How do I know the beach I am swimming at is monitored by Algoma Public Health?
If you see our "Notice" sign posted then you are at one of the many Algoma public Health monitored beaches. The notice sign was installed at the majority of beaches in the summer of 2012 and will be at all locations by the 2013 beach season.
Can my private beach front be tested?
Algoma Public Health and the Public Health Lab cannot test beach water at a private waterfront. APH would advice home and cottage owners to be educated swimmers and take into consideration the factors that can affect the water quality.
What is swimmers itch?
Swimmers itch appears as a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to parasites found in certain birds and mammals. The parasite burrows into the swimmer's skin and causes an itchy rash when the skin begins to dry.
Does Algoma Public Health test for swimmers itch?
Algoma Public Health does not test for swimmers itch. However, media releases are issued if multiple complaints are received. Swimmers itch is known to progress in the summer months and can be prevented by vigorously towel drying after water use or avoiding contact all together.
For more information contact your local Algoma Public Health office.
Date of Creation: June 1, 2015
Last Modified: June 1, 2015