Our lakes are great places to relax, cool down, and have some family time during our summer. But bacterial infections such as E. coli can put a damper on the fun. Our role is to monitor public beaches within the city and district (with the exception of beaches within provincial parks) and alert the public of high levels of E. coli.
What We Do
Public Health Inspectors from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit routinely monitor public lakes within the City of Thunder Bay and throughout the District to measure E. coli levels.
- Within Thunder Bay, we sample beaches weekly from the end of June to the end of August.
- Outside of Thunder Bay, we sample district beach locations once in July and August.
If E. coli levels are too high for safe swimming or other water recreation activities, the TBDHU posts an advisory sign at the affected beach and releases an advisory to media and the general public. Water that contains higher levels of E. coli increase the risk of developing minor skin, eye, ear, nose and throat infections, or gastrointestinal illness.
An advisory is a warning to swimmers but it is not a beach closure. Beach closures are rare. A beach closure is issued when a catastrophic event happens or an immediate risk to health is present. This could be a sewage spill, a toxic chemical release or any visual blue-green algae in the water.
Beaches and You
To reduce your risk of infection or illness at a public beach:
- Avoid swimming when there is a beach advisory
- Avoid swimming 24-48 hours after heavy rainfalls. Rain can carry bacteria from the street, parking lot and shoreline and flush it into our beaches causing potential contamination
- Avoid swallowing beach water at all times
- Assume swimmer's itch is present and always towel off after a swim and shower once at home
- Do not feed birds and place garbage in the garbage cans provided
- Keep in mind that E. coli tests can take up to 24 hours, so an advisory is based on the results of samples taken on the previous day
- The advisory sign (or lack of an advisory sign) may not reflect the current conditions present in the water because E. coli levels in recreational water can vary from hour to hour
Please note: the TBDHU is not responsible for routine monitoring of private beaches or beaches within provincial parks.
For advisories about beaches at provincial parks, please visit the Ontario Parks Alerts page.
List of Beaches
- Boulevard Lake – Main (Lakeview) and Sunny Side
- Chippewa Park – Main Beach and Sandy Beach
- Wild Goose Beach – Shuniah
- O'Connor Point – Shuniah
- West Loon Lake – Shuniah
- Lofquist Beach – Nipigon
- White Sand Lake Beach – Schreiber
- Dock Side – Terrace Bay
- Pump House Beach – Terrace Bay
- Carden Cove – Marathon
- Lions Penn Lake Park – Marathon
- Manitouwadge Lake
- Jeff Gauthier Memorial Park – Longlac
- Kenogamisis Fish and Game – Geraldton
- Geraldton Waterfront
- Cordingly Lake – Nakina
- Poplar Lodge – Beardmore
For Further Information
Call a Public Health Inspector: (807) 625-5900
or toll-free 1-888-294-6630