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Waters off popular Saanich, Oak Bay beaches test high for bacteria

Swimming and other contact not recommended for Willows, Cadboro Bay beaches
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An Island Health warning is in place for water activities near Willows and Cadboro Bay beaches after testing high for bacteria. (Black Press Media file photo)

Those celebrating the final days of summer should avoid swimming off a pair of popular Saanich and Oak Bay beaches after high bacterial counts.

Sept. 1 water testing at Willows Beach from samples taken near Estevan Road and Cadboro Gyro Park Beach in Saanich from samples taken near the outfall, showed “unsatisfactory bacteriological water results” according to Island Health.

Oak Bay alerted residents that afternoon that the area is unsafe for swimming and other water contact activities until further notice. Signs will be posted at the beach to notify visitors.

A water warning was issued earlier this summer at Willows Beach Aug. 18 and rescinded Aug. 24 after testing.

RELATED: Oak Bay beach water advisory lifts in time for hot weekend weather

Island Health monitors beaches from mid-May through the Labour Day weekend. The health authority recommends advisories when testing shows over 1000 E. coli or 175 Enterococci per sample, as studies indicate there is an elevated risk associated with these bacterial levels, according to the authority.

Beach advisories are also be considered when the average of the past several sample results exceed 200 E. coli or 35 Enterococci; a single sample result exceeds 400 E. coli or 70 Enterococci per sample’ a visible blue-green algae bloom is present; or other public health hazards are identified.

Testing at Bazan Bay Beach (Aug. 25) and Mount Douglas Park Beach (Aug. 24) also prompted Island Health alerts for high bacteria.

Glen Lake Park in Langford has been under advisory since July 7 despite routine testing.

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