Gatineau Beaches Water Quality

Beaches on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River are tested only 5 times during the swimming season: roughly every 2 weeks. It is the responsibility of the province to carry out the water quality analysis, not the Health Department, which is the case in Ottawa.

If there have been strong rains, testing is delayed for 24 hours. When a test comes back positive for elevated E. coli levels, a second test is carried out to ensure accuracy. At this point, if the test is once again positive, the province contacts the municipal beaches and orders them closed until the municipality is able to prove that the water has returned to normal levels. The municipality must use their own funds to either test the water themselves or hire someone to do it. Otherwise they must wait two weeks for the province’s next test.

How do I find out if it’s ok to swim?

E. Coli Standards established by the Québec Ministry of the Environment

A – excellent for recreational purposes (0 – 20 coliforms per 100ml)
B – good (20 – 100 coliforms per 100ml)
C – acceptable (100 – 199 coliforms per 100 ml)
D – not recommended (above 200 coliforms per 100ml)

Analysis is done by a certified laboratory

For more information about the province’s water testing, contact:
Christine Boucher
Tel: 819-772-3434, poste 275