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Water Today Title October 26, 2020

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Advisory of the day


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Nova Scotia Lifeguard Services expects those looking for a swim in the Halifax area will be able to return to Queensland Beach in Hubbards as of Wednesday afternoon.

The beach at Queensland Provincial Park in Halifax County was closed on the afternoon of July 13 when a water test indicated high levels of bacteria.

An advisory from the Nova Scotia Parks Department said that the beach would remain closed to swimmers until water tests showed it was safe. The information was also posted on signage at the beach, on Twitter and on the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Services website.

Paul D'Eon, director with Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service said the advisory was due to elevated levels of enterococci in the water. Enterococci is an indicator of fecal bacteria in the water.

Swimming in and or swallowing water with high levels of fecal bacteria can result in gastrointestinal illness, as well as the increased possibility of skin, ear and eye infections.

The second set of samples should be in Wednesday morning. In an interview on Tuesday he said "they need to incubate them for 48 hours, and they've had them for like 40 now so they will close before they do their test. It'll be tomorrow morning."

D'Eon said the cause remains unknown and that they've never had an issue like this at Queensland Beach before.

If the results of those tests fall within the range of Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality then the signage will be removed and the beach reopened.

The Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service conducts bacteriological water sampling for more than 20 beaches weekly across the province. They also supervise beaches from 10am to 6pm between July and August.

Once samples are collected they are analyzed by the Environmental Health Division who consults with the Regional Medical Officer of Health if need be.

When asked about how this unique structure for water sampling came about, D'Eon said "I have a contract, the Lifesaving Society has a contract with the provincial government to provide lifeguard supervision at the beaches. As part of that contract we actually do the sampling and deliver it to the labs and get the results."

He added, "once results are in we send those to the Department of Environment for direction on whether we; stay open, we close or retest, are the options. That's been happening since 2010."

Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada that mandates its lifeguards to monitor water quality. Those looking for the latest information on water quality, weather, and services at nearby beaches can visit http://lifesavingsociety.ns.ca


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