Fraser Health shuts down swimming in Harrison’s west lagoon due to high E. Coli levels

Fraser Health, village staff monitoring the situation

Fraser Health ordered the village of Harrison Hot Springs to post no-swimming signs for the west lagoon area of Harrison Lake due to high E. Coli bacteria readings.

According to Fraser Health, Harrison Lake Lagoon – West has tested for unsatisfactory levels of E. Coli bacteria when tested on May 22, May 29 and June 5. As such, that particular portion of recreational water had to be shut down to swimmers as of late Friday afternoon.

“As always, the Village looks to Fraser Health for guidance on public health issues such as water quality in swimming areas,” village officials said in a statement.

Harrison Lake Lagoon’s East and Central areas are at this time still safe for swimming. By Fraser Health standards, 200 E. coli bacteria per 100 millilitres is deemed satisfactory whereas prolonged readings above 400 would warrant an assessment. The west portion of the lagoon tested at 1,250 and 495 on May 22 and 29; their June 5 test was at 115 bacteria for the single sample, but the average geometric mean was at 288, which exceeds safety standards.

Fraser Health and village staff both sample water once a week to monitor bacteria levels. E. Coli contamination most commonly comes from fecal matter; in the case of Harrison in particular, this is most likely from Canada geese.

It isn’t unusual for Harrison Lake’s lagoons to have high levels of E. Coli during the later summer months and particularly after a dry spell, but it’s unusual to experience such levels this early on in the year.

“There is always some level of risk when swimming in untreated recreational waters; natural bodies of water are not treated to remove bacteria, are not sampled daily, and there is delay between the sampling time and the results,” Fraser Health states. “In order to minimize risk while swimming in recreational waters, one should avoid ingestion of water. Young, elderly, or immunocompromised individuals may occasionally be at greater risk depending on bacterial levels.”

If you have been swimming in a recreational body of water recently and you experience such symptoms as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, please seek medical attention.

For the latest on beach conditions and other local health issues, visit Fraser Health online at fraserhealth.ca.

More to come.



adam.louis@ahobserver.com

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