posted on 1:48 PM, July 20, 2009
White Pine Beach is closed for swimming but it is safe to swim at Sasamat Outdoor Centre.
Many of you are likely aware that White Pine Beach has been closed for swimming due to a higher than normal coliform bacteria count. Fortunately for campers at Sasamat Outdoor Centre, the bacteria count at our beach is far below any threshold for concern.
What is fecal coliform?
Fecal coliform indicates the presence of water-borne disease-causing bacteria or viruses, including e-coli. They are present in the intestinal tracts of all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Coliform levels are measured in fecal colonies (FC) per 100 ml.
Fecal coliform levels in freshwater should not exceed an average count of 100 colonies (FC) per 100 mls of water. Less than 50 colonies is optimal. For marine waters, fecal coliform levels should not exceed 14 FC. The health standard for drinking water is zero FC, for swimming, 200 FC, and for partial contact such as boating, 1000 FC.
A basic laboratory test is used to determine fecal coliform levels. Sasamat Lake is routinely sampled weekly, at several locations on the lake, by Metro Vancouver staff to ensure user safety. Sasamat staff also submit weekly beach samples to Fraser Health for testing.
This morning's test result for our beach was 20 FC/100ml, well below the optimum level of 50 and far below the threshold for swimming of 200 FC/100ml.
Currently, Metro Vancouver is testing Sasamat Lake daily to monitor the increased bacteria count and we will be monitoring those results closely to ensure the safety of campers and staff.