Beach Water Quality

Water quality can change quickly – from day to day or even hour to hour depending on weather and other conditions. Beach goers should make an informed decision about beach water quality before swimming.

Lambton Public Health takes regular samples at designated public beaches for bacteria. However, due to the delay in receiving lab results, beach goers should not only rely on public postings to know if it is safe to swim.

View current beach advisories.

What causes water pollution?

Storm water runoff, combined with sewer overflows, sewage treatment plant by-passes, agricultural runoff, faulty septic systems and large populations of waterfowl which live on or near the beach and surrounding area all contribute to water pollution which can result in beach postings.


Rain is the biggest factor to impact beach water quality. Rain washes contaminants into streams, rivers and lakes. While small amounts of rainfall are unlikely to have much impact, it is still advisable to avoid swimming for 24-48 hours after heavy rainfalls.


Wind can quickly build up significant waves. On any body of water, waves can stir up sand and silt making the water cloudy. If you can't see your feet from waist height of an adult, bacteria levels may be higher.

Wet sand and shallow water

Shallow bodies of water are likely to be warmer than deeper ones during the summer. These warm temperatures are more favourable for bacterial survival or growth. Bacteria levels tend to be higher in wet sand as well. Be sure to use a hand sanitizer or wash hands after playing at the water's edge.

Never swallow beach water, no matter how clear the water looks!

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