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Lakeview beach

E. coli levels are now low enough at Lakeview West beach for it to be designated safe for swimming by the regional health department. The weekly testing, however, has found bacteria levels remain high at the Lakeview East beach.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Those wanting to take a dip in the water at Lakeview West beach now only have to worry about the cold temperatures.

E. coli bacteria levels at the beach have gone down enough for the beach to be considered safe. Testing by the region’s health department found the geometric mean of E. coli bacteria at the water there to be at 76 per 100 mL of water – below the threshold of 100.

E. coli bacteria

The regional health department has a limit of 100 E. coli bacteria, seen here, per 100 mL of water at Durham’s beaches. If the geometric mean of several readings is above that, the beach is posted as unsafe to swim in.

Last week, the water at that beach had a geometric mean of 414 E. coli bacteria per 100 mL.

Mike Pittman, a senior health inspector with the region, told The Oshawa Express last week that the cause of the spike was heavy rainfall.

“Any time you get those heavy rainfalls, the bacteria numbers always jump up because you have all the storm sewers washing all kinds of debris and what not into the lake,” Pittman said. “Normally, we won’t sample if it’s raining, but if it’s clear, we’ll take that sample, but we’ll know the samples are probably going to be high, so as a precaution, we post the beach.”

Speaking with The Oshawa Express about the newest readings, Pittman said the new bacteria levels are safe for swimmers, but spikes could continue to happen due to the rain Oshawa has experienced in the past week, and advises swimmers to stay out of the water following a heavy rain.

The waters at Lakeview East beach, however, remain high. The newest readings found the E. coli count there to have gone up to 493 per 100 mL from 468 last week.

Swimmers looking to see if a beach is open or has been posted for high bacteria levels can do so by going to durham.ca.