Vancouver beach water quality gets poopy grade
Sunset Beach in Vancouver. (SUBMITTED)
Vancouver Coastal Health is closely watching Sunset Beach after its weekly water quality report found a nearly five-fold increase in coliform count — caused by fecal material in water — over the past month.
Swimming is considered unsafe at 200 coliform units per 100 ml of water. The latest update from the health authority last week, found the water quality had reached 150 coliform units per 100 mL, up from 36 units in late June.
VCH spokeswoman Anna Marie D’Angelo said Sunset Beach isn’t regularly an area with high coliform counts. She said the health authority generally looks at the mean water quality over a period of time, rather than a single test.
“So if you got a high count one day and it goes back to normal, that won’t be picked up in the geometric mean,” she said Sunday.
“(Our staff) will probably sample more frequently because it’s starting to get on the high side but it’s not a concern at the moment.”
If the amount of coliform bacteria exceeds safe levels, signs are expected to be posted at the West End beach. According to VCH, coliform present in water is an indicator of sewage contamination.