Elevated E. coli counts have raised concerns at eight of Toronto’s 11 lakefront beaches. This is the result of Monday’s torrential downpour when more than a month’s worth of rain fell in one day.
In an interview with CBC news, Mark Matson of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper explained, “The other day we saw a huge explosion of sewage from the city discharged into the rivers … and into the harbour,”
Safe E. coli levels are normally below the 100 level — but at one of the central beaches on Thursday the E. coli levels were measured at 1,784.
While city-life is returning to normal with electricity restored and most roadways and underpasses re-opened, the city’s beaches have now been declared unsafe for swimming. Even the beaches on the Toronto Islands nearby have been closed, which is a rare occurrence.
“In my experience I’ve never seen E. coli or bacteria at those numbers on Toronto Island beaches,” said Matson.
A few swimming areas are still safe, including Woodbine Beaches, Kew Balmy Beach and Bluffer’s Beach Park which is good news for a weekend that promises to be sunny and hot.