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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beach advisories posted

Not related to carp die-off: officials


There was no relief from the heat for swimmers at Innisfil Beach Park, yesterday.

Beach advisory notices for both of the park's swimming areas were posted by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit around the noon hour, putting a damper on anyone's plans for a refreshing dip.

Advisories are warnings for swimmers, but the beach is not closed. It means there are high levels of bacteria that could cause minor skin, eye, ear, nose and throat infections, or stomach disorders. During advisories, officials suggest

swimmers avoid dunking their heads underwater or swallowing the water.

But officials say the advisory is not connected to the recent carp die-off that has plagued Lake Simcoe.

"The water's sick," said youngster David Lamontagne, who was at the beach with his mother, Trudy, and was disappointed he couldn't go for a swim.

"It's a great park. It's too bad (about the closure). All these people would be swimming," she said, looking around at the 25 or more beachgoers gazing out over the water they'd rather be swimming in.

Karin Kell, of Innisfil, was hoping to get her one-year-old son Sean's toes into the water, yesterday afternoon.

"It's disappointing not being able to swim. This is such a nice resource," she said, looking around the south beach area of the park.

"But nobody's to blame," she added.

Jerry Capko, manager of the health unit's safe water program, said the carp die-off does not seem to be connected to the test results the health unit continues to monitor.

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"It is important to repeat that the Koi herpes virus (determined to be responsible for the die-off) does not affect humans or other animals," he said.

"The risk to bathers from these bacteria is no different than it has ever been," he added.

Capko said the advisories are put up as a result of ongoing monitoring of beach-water test results and monitoring of environmental factors such as weather conditions, bather load and water clarity.

"Bacterial counts routinely and predictably go up when we get near-shore water churned up by storms, high winds, runoff from rain and even from high bather loads. We have had some of these conditions recently," he said.

Two other beach advisories were issued in Simcoe County on Thursday, both in Tiny Township. They included Conc. 7 West Beach and Conc. 2 West Lawson Road Beach.

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