Most Metro Van beaches reopened in time for long weekend
Bacteria levels have subsided enough at Kitsilano Beach to make the water safe for swimming, health officials announced ahead of the B.C. Day long weekend.
Vancouver Coastal Health said testing has also cleared the waters at Kitsilano Point, leaving Trout Lake the only beach in the city closed to swimmers over E. coli concerns.
Being able to cool off in the water should be welcome news to some of the thousands of people expected to pour into the city for the Celebration of Light on Saturday and the 40th annual Pride Parade on Sunday. Though there are clouds in the forecast, the weather is still expected to reach the mid-20s this weekend.
On Thursday, health officials also reopened the beaches at West Vancouver's Ambleside Park, Whytecliff Park and Sandy Cove beaches to wading and swimming.
But they are still working to figure out what sent E. coli levels rising in the region. Vancouver Coastal Health said some potential causes include sewage dumped from boats, higher numbers of animals and waterfowl on the beaches, and the recent hot weather, which can speed up the growth of fecal bacteria in the water.
Higher E. coli levels increase the risk of gastro-intestinal illness to swimmers. Symptoms of infection include nausea, vomiting, headache, mild fever, severe stomach cramps and watery or bloody diarrhea.
The symptoms appear within one and 10 days of exposure, and usually end within another 10 days.
Waters in the eastern part of False Creek remains the most contaminated in the region, at 1,415 bacteria per 100 ml of water. Recreational water quality guidelines advise against swimming in any waters where levels are 200 and above.
For the latest E. coli testing reports, visit the Vancouver Coastal Health website.