Elevated bacterial counts at Strathcona Beach on Abbot Street has forced a swimming advisory from the City of Kelowna.
The bacterial levels are currently higher than those allowed in the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality.
While the beach is not closed, swimming advisory signs have been posted in the area so the public can make an informed choice.
According to the City of Kelowna, it’s expected that one per cent of bathers may potentially develop gastrointestinal (stomach) illness if the water is ingested. Eye, ear and throat symptoms, as well as skin rashes (not swimmer’s itch), can also occur.
“We are asking the public not to swim or engage in water-related recreation activities at Strathcona Beach until the water quality advisory has been lifted,” said Blair Stewart, Park Services Manager. “Most people would be fine, but there is that one per cent who could become ill if they ingest the water.”
The very young, the elderly and people with weakened immunity are the most susceptible to infection related to bacterial counts in the water.
Other Kelowna beaches are not under a swimming advisory and meet all recreational water quality guidelines.
Stewart explained that beach water quality can fluctuate due to several different factors including currents, runoff, creek outflows, and waterfowl. The City of Kelowna and Interior Health sample water quality at higher risk beaches, with no fewer than five samples in 30 days.