Water Quality at Ottawa Beaches

Every morning, the City of Ottawa Public Health Department takes a water quality sample to test for E. coli at each of the five beaches: Britannia Beach, Mooney’s Bay, Petrie Island East Bay, Petrie Island River Beaches and Westboro Beach. If high concentrations of E. coli are detected, other disease-causing organisms are likely to be present and may pose a risk to your health. It’s important to monitor these results to ensure the safety of your children and yourselves.

Beyond taking measurements, you can also take steps toward staying safe by asking your mayor for real-time report of sewage overflows into our River. Write your letter today!

How do I find out if it’s ok to swim?

Call the Beach Information line seven days a week at 613-580-6744, ext.13219 to receive the most current information.
Check for current beach updates on the City of Ottawa website as well as the sampling history for the season.
When at the beach, look for a red or green flag.

  • A red flag indicates that swimming is not advised due to poor water quality.
  • A green flag indicates that water quality is acceptable for swimming.
  • A 24-hour no-swimming advisory will be issued for Westboro Beach after a rainfall of five millimetres or more.
  • A 24-hour no-swimming advisory will be issued for Petrie Island Beach after a rainfall of 20 mm or more, or if rainfall amounts predict combined sewer overflows that would impact Petrie Island Beach.

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

  • over 200 E. coli per 100 millimetres of water tested: UNSAFE
  • over 100 E. coli per 100 ml of water tested on two or more consecutive days: UNSAFE