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City of Hamilton - Public Health Services

Safe Water - Beaches

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In accordance with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Beach Management Protocol under the Ontario Public Health Standards 2008, Hamilton Public Health Services monitors the recreational water quality at three public beaches along Lake Ontario, two beaches in Hamilton Harbour, and at three Conservation Areas to ensure that the water quality was safe for swimming.

Hamilton Public Health is no longer monitoring the following locations for levels of E. Coli bacteria for the 2014 bathing season:

  • Binbrook Conservation Beach
  • Christie Conservation Beach
  • Valens Conservation Beach
  • Bayfront Beach
  • Pier 4 Beach
  • Beach Boulevard
  • Confederation Park Beach

The Protocol requires that these beaches be sampled and tested for E.Coli at least once per week during the swimming season. High numbers of E. coli in the water at public beaches indicate the presence of fecal contamination and the potential presence of other harmful microorganisms in the water. The Ontario recreational water standard is 100 E. coli bacteria cells per 100 ml of water or 100 colony forming units (CFU’s) per 100 ml. E. coli concentrations at or above 100 CFU’s per 100 ml of water could represent an increased risk of human infection to bathers.

Swimming in these waters could cause infections of the ears, eyes, nose, throat and skin as well as cause diarrhea if the water is ingested. When E. coli concentrations are found to be at or above 100 CFU’s per 100 ml, warning signs are posted at the affected beaches, advising potential bathers that the water may pose a health risk and is deemed as unsafe for swimming. Additionally, Public Health Services updates the Safe Water website ( and the Safe Water Information Line (905-546-2189) outgoing phone message to reflect the current beach water quality status. The beach might also be deemed as unsafe because of floating debris, oil, excessive weed growth, bad odours and general turbidity.

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Last updated: October 22, 2014