The City of Maple Ridge has closed Whonnock Lake Beach to the public after the detection of unsatisfactory levels of e-coli bacteria at the popular park in east Maple Ridge.
The city made the announcement on its website Thursday and said the beach will be closed until further notice.
“City staff will continue to water sample, evaluate results and notify the public when the beach has re-opened,” the city said.
Facilities manager Mike Millward said Friday that staff will test the water again today, and get results back from Fraser Health on Monday.
He said Whonnock Lake Beach was also closed last year for a time, as were several major beaches in Vancouver.
Causes of contamination can include algae blooms, geese or pet waste, or possibly, runoff of contaminated water into the lake following a heavy rain. No sewage flows into the lake.
He said the city samples the water weekly, both from Whonnock Lake and from Davison Pool in the South Alouette River and sends them to Fraser Health for analysis.
“We test this weekly and we monitor the results,” he said.
The city’s Facebook quotes Fraser Health as telling people that being in the water before an area is closed doesn’t mean they’ll get sick. “However, if you experience signs of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea after swimming in recreational water, we recommend that you seek medical attention,” Fraser Health said.
Fraser Health said that a satisfactory test is 200 or less E. coli bacteria per 100 millilitres of water. Readings above that are unsatisfactory.
Millward said that signs have been posted warning people to stay out of the water but the park remains open as per usual.