Health Information

Beach Water Quality Surveillance

Lambton Public Health conducts monitoring and reporting for beach water quality at 7 locations in Lambton County.

Beach Status

Check the beach water quality status before you head out to the beach.

  • Text keyword: BEACH to 226-909-3003
  • View the map of beach locations and inspection results
  • Call the Beach InfoLine: 519-383-3816, toll-free 1-800-667-1839 ext. 3816
  • View signs at the inspected beach location entry points

A beach’s status will be indicated in one of two ways:

  • Posted – warning sign displayed. Unsafe for swimming as high levels of bacteria in the waters may pose a risk to your health.
  • Not posted – caution sign displayed. No water quality issues but continue to monitor for changes. Cloudy water caused by high wave activity and heavy rainfall may contain high levels of bacteria.

The current status of the beaches (posted vs. not posted) reflects the conditions at the time of sampling. Water quality can change during the day depending on the weather. Please note that after a heavy rainfall (at least 48 hrs.), if the water is cloudy, during high waves or if you are unable to see your feet when you are in the water, bacteria levels may be high; swim with caution.

Beach Locations

Beaches monitored daily (Monday-Friday) using predictive models:

  • Grand Bend (North Beach)
  • Grand Bend (South Beach)
  • Ipperwash Main Beach
  • Bright’s Grove (including Mike Weir Park)
  • Canatara Park

Beaches monitored weekly (water sampling with lab analysis):

  • Pinery Provincial Park
  • C.J. McEwen Beach

No sampling occurs along the St. Clair River; however, a caution sign, advising of high bacteria levels following heavy rainfall, has been permanently placed at:

  • Branton Cundick Park
  • Brander Park
  • Seager Park

Why do we Sample Beaches?

Lambton Public Health (LPH) conducts a Beach Water Quality Monitoring Program to protect and promote public health and safety. The goal of the program is to prevent and/or reduce the incidence of water-borne illnesses and injuries related to recreational water use, and to mitigate risk by preventing the use of public beaches under adverse conditions. LPH’s Beach Water Quality Monitoring Program focuses on the routine surveillance of area beaches specified by the Medical Officer of Health. Activities involved in LPH’s Beach Water Quality Monitoring Program include planning and pre-season assessments, routine monitoring and surveillance, and education and communication regarding safe beach use.

Predictive Beach Modelling

A Predictive Beach Model is a tool that uses current weather conditions, other factors and past beach data to predict E.coli levels in the water. Some factors that a predictive beach model uses include:

  • Rainfall
  • Wave action
  • Cloudy/turbid water
  • Wind
  • Waterfowl
  • Bathers
  • Etc.

LPH’s predictive beach models are reviewed and validated ever year to ensure they are accurate (i.e. comparing the actual beach water sample results with the prediction value).  Some of the benefits of using a predictive beach model include:

  • Predictive models reduce the lag time currently experienced in the beach water sampling program.
  • The use of predictive models provide real time (at the beach/same day) water quality information.
  • A water quality prediction can be made any time of the day/week to protect public health but also reduce the impact of extended beach postings.

Predictive beach model monitoring will be used at five of Lambton’s public beaches, and monitored on a daily basis: Grand Bend North and South Beaches, Ipperwash Main Beach, Bright’s Grove Beach (including Mike Weir Park) and Canatara Beach.

The two beaches that were not monitored using predictive models include Pinery Provincial Park and C.J. McEwen Beach. These beaches were monitored weekly using our former system for monitoring beaches (persistence model). C.J. McEwen is a beach that was included in our beach water quality program in 2018. In order for a predictive beach model to be developed, a three to five-year history of sampling and environmental data is needed. Public beaches within provincial parks (such as Pinery Provincial Park) are the responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Pinery Provincial Park staff executes their own sampling activities and maintains information signs within the park.