Beach Water Quality Results

Beach Water Quality Testing at the City of Ottawa Supervised Beaches

Water samples will be collected daily from City of Ottawa supervised beaches between June 27 and August 30, 2020 and tested for the presence of E. coli bacteria. When elevated levels of E. coli are detected in the water, it is more likely that other disease-causing organisms are also present. These organisms can result in skin, ear, throat or gastro-intestinal illnesses. 

Beaches and COVID-19 Transmission

Swimming at the City of Ottawa public beaches is not considered to be an important risk for transmission of COVID-19.  Water is not a favoured route of transmission for the virus that causes COVID-19. This virus preferentially transmits short distances (up to 2 metres) through the air by respiratory droplets from an infected person (from coughing, sneezing, shouting, singing, talking, breathing), by direct  contact with an infected person or by contact with a surface that an infected person has touched (and now, contaminated fingers bringing the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth).

To minimize transmission of COVID-19 when at a public beach or park:

  • Practice physical distancing from others in changerooms, washrooms and wear a mask for added protection in areas you cannot maintain at least 2 metres from others not in your group. 
  • When in the water, on the shorelines and enjoying the park and picnic areas, practice physical distancing. While the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is much less outdoors than indoors, when there is significant crowding, as there could be at a pool or beach, there is greater concern about spread.
  • Physical distancing, wearing face masks, staying home when sick, and practicing good hand hygiene remain the best way to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Beach water test results 

Water test results are not available immediately as they take at least 18 hours to process in the laboratory. For this reason, swim advisories are issued based on water sample results from the previous day, as well as our knowledge of water quality at each beach in previous years and how they react to factors such as rainfall and bird activity. Ottawa Public Health will not recommend swimming at beaches if: 

  • the geometric mean of 5 water samples taken on the previous day is greater than 200 E. coli per 100mL of water (Ontario water quality standard for beach water quality);
  • there is a significant rainfall event; or
  • we are aware of a situation that could impact the water quality at a beach.

For information on the City of Ottawa Beaches visit the City of Ottawa website.

For more information on the Beach Water Quality Monitoring Program, call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 and ask to speak with a Public Health Inspector.

Swim icon Swim with caution

Red caution symbolSwimming not recommended

  • Swim in the supervised area. Lifeguards are on duty from noon to 7pm every day during the supervised swimming season.
  • Avoid going into water with an open wound.
  • Don't swallow the water or take it in your mouth. It is best to keep your head out of the water.
  • Shower as soon as possible after swimming and dry ears thoroughly with a towel. 
  • Wash hands carefully with soap and treated water or use alcohol-based hand rub after playing in the sand, and before preparing foods or eating.
  • As a precaution, take children to the toilet before entering the water. 

If you choose to wade into the water:

  • Avoid going into water with an open wound.
  • Don't swallow the water or take it in your mouth. It is best to keep your head out of the water.
  • Shower as soon as possible after using water.
  • Wash hands carefully with soap and treated water or use alcohol-based hand rub after playing in the sand, and before preparing foods or eating.

Tips for staying safe around lakes and rivers.

Tips to stay cool during a Heat Warning 

2020 Beach Water Sampling Results - July 4 2020
Beach NameE. coli LevelSwimming Condition
 Westboro Beach 53

         Swim icon

Swim with caution

Beach water meets provincial bacterial standards.
 Mooney's Bay 14

Swim icon

Swim with caution

Beach water meets provincial bacterial standards.
 Petrie Island East Bay 20

Swim icon

Swim with caution

Beach water meets provincial bacterial standards.
 Petrie Island River Beaches 33

Swim icon

Swim with caution

Beach water meets provincial bacterial standards.

 

Previous results for 2020

Date Westboro Beach Mooney's Bay Petrie Island East Bay Petrie Island River Beaches 

July 4 2020

53 (Swim with caution) 14 (Swim with caution) 20 (Swim with caution) 33 (Swim with caution)

 

July 3 2020

 

485 (Swimming not recommended) 29 (Swim with caution) 43 (Swim with caution) 27 (Swim with caution)

 

July 2 2020

 

20 (Swim with caution) 32 (Swim with caution) 19 (Swim with caution) 39 (Swim with caution)

 

July 1 2020

 

51 (Swim with caution)  127 (Swim with caution)   53 (Swim with caution) 99 (Swim with caution) 

 

June 30 2020

 

44 (Swim with caution)

111 (Swim with caution)

22 (Swim with caution)

63 (Swim with caution)

 

June 29 2020

 

22 (Swim with caution)

582 (Swimming not recommended)

37 (Swim with caution)

38 (Swim with caution)

 

June 28 2020

 

24 (Swim with caution)

22 (Swim with caution)

22 (Swim with caution)

59 (Swim with caution)

June 27 2020 

19 (Swim with caution) 

 

 28 (Swim with caution)

 

31 (Swim with caution) 

50 (Swim with caution) 

The City of Ottawa Open Data keeps Beach water sampling data from previous years. 

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