How do I know if it is safe to swim?

You are the best person to decide when and if it is safe to swim at a particular location. Our changing weather means that swimming conditions can vary throughout the day and from day to day. It is a good idea to avoid swimming in lakes and rivers for 48 hours following a heavy rain. Surface runoff from storm sewer systems can carry high levels of pollution such as residue from vehicle exhaust, fertilizer, pesticides, oil, and waste from urban pets and rural barnyards into the water. Overflowing storm systems can also carry untreated sewage into rivers and lakes. Here are a few recommendations for deciding when and where to swim:

  • Check the weather! Don't swim for 2 days after heavy rains
  • Watch for "signs" of water pollution such as discolored water, fast flowing and strong smelling drains and/or street litter floating in water
  • Avoid swimming next to drain openings or outlets
  • Check for pollution warning notices and/or beach closing signs
  • Swim only in areas designated as "swim areas"

Show All Answers

1. What is E. coli?
2. What are the risks associated with bacteria in the water?
3. How are the beaches sampled?
4. Why do the beaches close?
5. How long will the beach remain closed?
6. When will the beach re-open?
7. How do the bacteria get in the water?
8. How do I know if it is safe to swim?