Samples from Westwood Lake will be taken by the City of Nanaimo for testing for fecal coliform levels. (News Bulletin file)

Samples from Westwood Lake will be taken by the City of Nanaimo for testing for fecal coliform levels. (News Bulletin file)

City of Nanaimo to test water quality of swim spots with summer approaching

Long, Brannen and Westwood lakes to be tested for fecal coliform, city says

With summer approaching, City of Nanaimo will test water quality of outdoor swimming areas and beaches.

According to a press release, city staff will begin testing water from Departure Bay, Colliery Dam Park and Long, Brannen and Westwood lakes beginning Tuesday, June 15. Samples from the various locations, around beaches and waterways feeding them, will be submitted to be tested for fecal coliform levels.

Under B.C. government regulations, beaches must be closed if fecal coliform levels exceed provincial guidelines.

The city is also taking the opportunity to remind residents of a bylaw prohibiting dogs on beaches or in water – lakes, streams and swimming spot waterfronts – from May till the end of September, unless it is classified as part of an off-leash area. Shore birds and wildlife situate around bodies of water and coupling that with the presence of pets could increase levels of fecal coliform, the city said.

In the press release, Bill Sims, city general manager of engineering and public works, said monitoring water quality ensures beaches stay open for everyone’s enjoyment and protects wildlife.

“We can all do our part to ensure our waterways and beaches are clean,” Sims said in the press release. “Do not dispose feces, paint, drywall or oils into ditches, catch basins or any water source as they can end up in our streams and oceans.”

To see the city’s latest beach reports, go here.

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