Beach Conditions

Beaches & Swimming

Natural bodies of water are great places to play, swim and cool off on a hot sunny day.

However, swimming in these areas is not risk-free. There is always a level of risk when swimming in a natural water body, whether it's on the shores of Lake Erie, jumping off a dock at a cottage or going to an NPCA beach.

Natural water bodies, such as rivers and reservoirs, are exposed to contamination from various sources. The conditions and quality of the water can change quickly due to a number of environmental factors. These factors can influence the level of bacteria in the water to the point where it increases the risk of getting sick.

Environmental factors that can cause an increase in bacteria levels

  • Recent heavy rainfall (1 to 2 inches or 25 to 50 mm within 24 to 48 hours) has a significant impact on water quality. Run off from the rain washes bacteria from the shore, fields and streets into streams, rivers and lakes.
  • Cloudy water (unable to see feet in waist-deep water) means the sand and silt has been stirred up. This can increase the levels of bacteria in the water.
  • High wind can cause waves, and wave action can stir up the sand and silt, which can increase the levels of bacteria in the water.
  • Large numbers of birds or other wildlife and their droppings can have a significant impact on water quality. Dead fish, algae/scum, or debris in the water can also increase the risk of illness or injury.

How you can prevent illness when swimming in a natural water body

  • Never swallow the beach water, at any time, no matter how clear!
  • After swimming or playing in the water or sand, wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before eating, especially children, if you have been swimming or playing in the water or sand
  • Bacteria levels tend to be higher in the warm wet sand on the shore

Help keep our beaches clean

There are several ways you can help keep our beaches clean and improve water quality conditions in our swimming areas. These include:

  • Don't feed wildlife or birds.
  • Don't use soaps, shampoos, or other bathing products in the water.
  • Use appropriate washroom facilities.
  • Place all garbage in designated bins, or take it with you.
Rainfall Data

Rainfall can cause fecal material from wildlife or pets to runoff into streams and reservoirs. It can also stir up the water creating cloudy conditions. When there is a significant rainfall (1 to 2 inches or 25 to 50 mm within 24 to 48 hours), it is advised to refrain from swimming for 24 to 48 hours, until clear conditions occur again.

Our website contains information about precipitation at beaches within the watershed, and we also publish Cumulative Precipitation Rates across the Niagara Peninsula Watershed. You can also access culumative precipitation rates for the following locations:

Water Quality Monitoring

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority conducts water quality sampling for bacterial (E.coli) counts once every two weeks beginning one week prior to Victoria Day through the week after Labour Day at three (3) conservation area beaches in three (3) NPCA Conservation Areas throughout the watershed.

While this data is not useful in identifying public health risk when swimming in natural water bodies, it is used to determine long term trends in the water quality at our swimming areas over time. The table below will be updated bi-weekly, showing the most recent sampling data available.


Date Water Sample Collected

E-Coli Counts

August 31, 2020
2 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 24, 2020
19 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 17, 2020
35 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 12, 2020
49 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 31, 2020
16 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 24, 2020
22 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 18, 2020
17 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 10, 2020
41 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 24, 2020
26 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 31, 2020
36 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 18, 2020
12 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
August 10, 2020
40 E.coli (cfu/100mL)
Beach Closures

A beach closure (rarely issued) prohibits swimming due to a chemical or sewage spill, or the presence of Blue-green Algae.

Local Public Health Unit Contact Information

For health-related questions, please contact:


Always use caution when swimming in natural waters
2 E.coli (cfu/100mL) Geometric Mean
Tested August 31, 2020

More Park info

Chippawa Creek

Always use caution when swimming in natural waters
16 E.coli (cfu/100mL) Geometric Mean
Tested August 31, 2020

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Long Beach

Always use caution when swimming in natural waters
26 E.coli (cfu/100mL) Geometric Mean
Tested August 24, 2020

More Park info