Don’t take a dip at West Vancouver’s Whytecliff Park, says Vancouver Coastal Health after releasing E.coli numbers for Metro Vancouver beaches on Monday.
The pebbly beach and popular dive location currently has E.coli levels through the roof at 200 E.coli/100 mL of water, significantly higher than any other swimming spot on Vancouver Coastal Health’s (VCH) jurisdiction.
VCH monitors all Metro Vancouver area beaches throughout the swimming season for E.coli levels equal to or over 200. When high levels are detected, an assessment is made to determine any possible health risks and may require a warning sign to be posted near the water stating “This water is contaminated and unsafe for swimming.”
The authority has now put in a place a no-swimming advisory for Whytecliff Park, though park-goers may still enter the water at their own risk.
Nearby beaches including Ambleside, Dundarave, Sandy Cove and Eagle Harbour all have much lower E.coli levels between 17 and 23. Behind Whytecliff Park, beaches with above-average levels are Sunset Beach, Trail 7 Oasis at Wreck Beach and Trout Lake, all with levels in the 60 to 70 range. The cleanest water surrounds Iona Beach in Richmond at level 14.
E.coli is an indicator organism associated with fecal matter from human and animal sources. The Public Health Agency of Canada states most strains of E.coli are harmless, but certain strains can make those in contact with it ill with symptoms including vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and possibly kidney failure. Sickness usually lasts about five to 10 days.