Officials in British Columbia are warning people not to swim at three West Vancouver beaches after water quality sampling revealed elevated E. coli levels.

The 2012 Canadian Recreational Water Quality Guidelines recommend a level of less than 200 E. coli bacteria per 100 millilitres of water for primary contact activities like swimming. Vancouver Coastal Health’s July 17 Beach Water Quality report shows elevated levels for Ambleside, Dundarave, and Sandy Cove beaches, resulting in “No Swimming” advisories.

No source of the contamination has yet been identified, but Vancouver Coastal Health is consulting with the District of West Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to uncover a cause of the elevated levels.

E. coli, an indicator organism for either human or animal fecal contamination, can increase a swimmer’s risk of gastro-intestinal illness when encountered at an elevated concentration.

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