Electron micrograph image of E.coli. (File Photo)

Electron micrograph image of E.coli. (File Photo)

E. Coli levels reach extreme levels in Harrison Lake Lagoon

High levels prompt village staff to post signage

Fraser Health’s latest beach conditions report indicates very high levels of E. Coli bacteria in Harrison Lake Lagoon on June 26.

Village officials confirmed the affected swimming areas have warning signs visible indicating the unsatisfactory levels of bacteria and that it is not suitable for swimming in its current condition.

The bodies of water in Harrison are tested once a week from June to September, said Tyler Simmonds, the village’s utilities chief; these samples are then delivered to Fraser Health. Fraser Health sends the results back to the village officials with any needed recommendations later on in the week.

RELATED: Harrison officials carefully monitoring E.coli levels in lagoon

In the past, Fraser Health asked to have four areas sampled: the beach west of the plaza, the east side of the lagoon, centre of the lagoon and west side. Starting on Monday (June 29), samples from Rendall Park Beach are submitted as well.

“Of the three samples from the Lagoon, only the highest level reading is published on the Fraser Health website under the single sample heading,” Simmonds said in a statement. The three readings are applied to a geometric mean calculation with readings from the previous weeks, which is a formula that evens out any spikes or dips in measured levels. This provides for essentially an average number taken over the course of several weeks.

According to Fraser Health, levels of less than 400 E. Coli bacteria per 100 millilitres is considered satisfactory and safe for swimming. June 26’s sample indicated a level of 2100 bacteria, which is almost six times as high as the maximum satisfactory number. The geometric mean is at 76 bacteria for Harrison Lake Lagoon as of the current report, which is within safety limits, but the extreme level of 2100 bacteria per 100 millilitres measured in the single sample on June 26 prompted the village to take cautionary action and post signs.

RELATED: Maple Ridge’s Whonnock Lake Beach closed because of E. coli

Harrison Lake Beach west of the lagoon last measured in at 100 bacteria per 100 millilitres (geometric mean 15 bacteria), which is well within Fraser Health’s safety standards. Fraser Health ordered the village to post no-swimming signs for the west lagoon area due to high readings in early June after may 22, 29 and June 5 readings all came back as unsatisfactory.

Harrison’s bodies of water have had frequent issues with high E. Coli levels, particularly in drier months and usually later on in the summer; having such high levels before the dog days of summer hit is admittedly unusual. The most common source of the issue is fecal matter, usually from Canada geese in the case of Harrison.

“As always, the Village looks to Fraser Health for guidance on public health issues such as water quality in swimming areas,” village officials said in a statement.

“There is always some level of risk when swimming in untreated recreational waters; natural bodies of water are not treated to remove bacteria, are not sampled daily, and there is delay between the sampling time and the results,” Fraser Health states. “In order to minimize risk while swimming in recreational waters, one should avoid ingestion of water. Young, elderly, or immunocompromised individuals may occasionally be at greater risk depending on bacterial levels.”

If you have been swimming in a recreational body of water recently and you experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, please seek medical attention.

If you are feeling unwell or have developed symptoms of coronavirus, please stay home and away from crowded tourist attractions, even during the Canada Day holiday.

Anyone with questions can contact Fraser Health at HPLand@fraserhealth.ca or by calling 604-870-7900.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
news@ahobserver.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Fraser HealthHarrison Hot SpringsHarrison Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Margaret Reid, program coordinator with United Way, with the last order of jackets, track pants, underwear and footwear heading to service providers to distribute to those experiencing homelessness. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Chilliwack Progress)
Clothing and footwear piled high to outfit Chilliwack’s chronically homeless

‘This is something to help the long-term health outcomes of our community,’ says program co-ordinator

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

RCMP
Vehicle in alleged hit and run ploughs into road sign in downtown Chilliwack

Police are looking for footage of a gold-coloured two-door Chevy car

The map shows the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of April 25 to May 1. The darkest areas indicate communities with a daily average of more than 20 cases per 100,000 population. (BC Centre of Disease Control)
Surrey and Abbotsford battle for top COVID hotspot in Fraser Health

Two communities are among areas across province showing highest transmission

One section of a bank of community mailboxes in Ryder Lake was stolen. (Facebook photo)
Brazen thief goes next level with mail theft in Ryder Lake

Chilliwack RCMP confirm a section of a community mailbox was taken off its base and removed

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read