While summer-like weather is making an appearance, the City of Ottawa is warning residents not to use the beaches and practice caution around lakes, rivers and streams.
The higher water levels from this year’s rapid snow melt and higher-than-usual rainfall has resulted in the beaches being in direct contact with the flood waters from lakes and rivers. These conditions also resulted in some storm and combined sewer overflow going into the waters, along with the usual pathogens from winter debris.
However, most bacteria can only survive a few days, and the large volume of flowing water at this time will be diluting pathogens to very low levels.
Ottawa Public Health will begin their annual water-testing at the beaches in June.
In addition to carrying pathogens, debris carried by the higher and fast-moving water pose safety hazards to boaters. The submerged debris could include natural wood (logs and branches), pieces of fencing and docks, glass, and construction materials.
Beyond the spring waters, the City encourages residents to practice water safety all year long, and always watch children around rivers, lakes, streams and pools.