It's safe to go into the water in the Tri-Cities - at least if you're trying to avoid an intestinal illness.
According to officials with Fraser Health, the beaches and waterways around the Tri-Cities have scored low in coliform bacteria tests.
"Results are really low, which is really great," said Gordon Stewart, manager of health protection for Fraser Health.
Though specific results were not made available by the health authority for White Pine Beach or Buntzen Lake, Stewart noted weekly results at both beaches have been well below the maximum level of bacteria.
He noted samples near the dog park at Buntzen Lake have also brought back good results.
Fraser Health did provide the sample results for a handful of other beaches and parks in the Tri-Cities.
Essentially, it is deemed unsafe to swim if a coliform test exceeds 200 units per 100 millilitres.
Test results from July 31 show Rocky Point Park in Port Moody was at 30 units, Orchard Park was at 34 units, Bedwell Bay was at 10 and the Belcarra picnic area was at 45.
Fraser Health does not do the sampling and instead leaves it up to the beaches' owners, which in most cases is Metro Vancouver.
Buntzen Lake is the property of BC Hydro and the testing is carried out by the utility.
Beaches are sampled five times a month, typically starting in May and running through October.
Recently a couple of beaches in Vancouver were closed because the coliform counts were too high.
Stewart explained there could be several reasons for a high count, including significant runoff and rain, wildlife in the area and dogs and animals playing at the beach.
"For the public to be aware, if there is a bunch of geese in front of you when you're walking through and there's a lot of goose poop out there, maybe avoid that area to swim in," he suggested.
If a beach is deemed unsafe, the health authority will ask the beach operators to put up signs warning the public of the risks of swimming.
Stewart noted testing is the only indicator the heath authority has to know if a beach is safe from bacteria.
"We look at beach sampling as an important indicator to help us make a decision to whether it's a safe place for people to swim," he said.
This summer, Rocky Point has had a particularly difficult time with geese and their droppings.
In July, the city addressed the problem after receiving several complaints from residents by vacuuming the droppings and installing a fence by the water to keep the birds out of the park.
"Right now we're cleaning up goose poop and it seems to be working," Mayor Mike Clay said, adding the plan is to clean up the park every Friday if necessary.
He noted 200 geese have been counted in the park this summer.
Lisa King, Now / Test results show the coliform level for water off Rocky Point Park was 30 units, which is deemed safe.;
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