Niagara Region Public Health uses the Beach Management Protocol to monitor beach sites alongLakeOntario, Lake Erie, the southern Niagara River and the public beach atDilsLake. They take samples and post closings when the E-coli bacteria levels are high and health could be affected. causing infections, especially for elderly, young children and those with depressed immune systems. Beaches are posted as unsafe for swimming for floating debris, oil, excessive weed growth or bad odours.
The monitored beaches inNiagarawere posted 32% for 2009 and 2010 – up over 2.5 times since 2004, when they were posted 12.57% of the time. The 5 Lake Erie beach sites inPort Colborne, and the 3LakeOntariobeach sites inSt. Catharineshad the highest number of swimming days lost. Public Health is moving to a system of monitoring only 26 sites, but will monitor those sites more frequently.
Table 3.2 Beach monitoring and postings in Niagara 2003-2010