New Brunswick will expand a water monitoring protocol to eight provincial park beaches for the upcoming swimming season. The protocol is in accordance with the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality.
“The Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality have established guideline values that strike a balance between potential health risks and the benefits of recreational water use in terms of physical activity and enjoyment,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health. “There is always a slight risk of health effects when swimming, just as there are risks associated with other common activities, such as driving your car.”
The protocol is based on the same principles as the Parlee Beach protocol established in 2017. Last year, the province invested in infrastructure, wetland protection, and water quality monitoring at Parlee Beach to improve the environmental health and to ensure the site was suitable for recreational activities. The new protocols follow the same process as was implemented at Parlee Beach:
- Water samples are collected from five locations at each beach.
- Water samples are sent to an accredited lab for analysis.
- Results are reviewed by a medical officer of health to determine if the water is suitable for swimming or if a no-swimming advisory will be issued.
- Signage is placed at key locations within the park.
- Current beach status and all water quality results are posted online at beaches.gnb.ca.
“There are precautions that you can take every day, regardless of signage, to protect yourself from potential risks associated with recreational water use,” said Dr. Russell, “including not swallowing the water whenever possible, not exposing open cuts, wounds, or sores to the water, and washing your hands and/or using shower facilities to rinse off after being in the water.”
The new protocol includes the following beaches and monitoring frequencies:
- Parlee Beach – monitored daily
- Murray Beach – monitored three days per week
- Mactaquac – monitored two days per week
- New River Beach, Mount Carleton and Oak Bay – monitored one day per week
- Miscou and Val-Comeau – monitored once every two weeks
The beaches and frequencies are based on risk assessments conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health using information from environmental health and safety surveys completed as recommended by the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality.