Rainy River beach declared ‘unsafe’

The Northwestern Health Unit on Friday posted Hannam Park beach in Rainy River as “unsafe for swimming” after routine sampling showed unsafe levels of E. coli.
The beach will remain closed until the health unit receives two consecutive water samples that contain acceptable levels of bacteria.
This is a precautionary measure in order to protect the health, well-being, and safety of the public.
Public health inspector Brian Norris said this morning that the beach could be open as early as Wednesday. The health unit will be doubling its testing at this site today in order to ascertain as quickly as possible whether the bacteria count is still high.
He noted the high bacteria count likely was due to some heavy rain washing pollutants into the river, but was a little surprised to see that water tested elsewhere in the district—which also had the rainfall—didn’t reveal the same results.
The health unit began testing the water at district beaches in June. Norris said this is the first beach to be declared “unsafe for swimming” so far this summer, but added it wasn’t unusual to see a beach closed at least once a year.
Last year, Pither’s Point was closed once due to high bacteria counts while it was closed twice in 2002. All closures lasted less than a week.
E. coli—the strain of bacterium public health inspectors test for here—can cause skin, ear, nose, and mouth infections. If ingested, it can cause severe ’flu-like symptoms.