Today we celebrate World Water Monitoring Day! Did you know that Ottawa Riverkeeper does its own in house water quality testing? We collect data from beaches and other sites along the river, and publish those results on Swim Guide. In fact, thanks to intern Caitlin Hayes and volunteers Dan Wilcock, Daniel Goodwin, and Sandra Milton, this year we collected 856 water quality samples at 24 locations throughout the Ottawa River watershed!
One of the sites we sampled was Constance Bay Beach which, based on usage data from Swim Guide, was the most popular beach in the watershed this summer. In addition, we monitored Parc des Cèdres and Parc Moussette in Gatineau, filling in the gaps in the City of Gatineau’s twice weekly testing to give the public more up to date information on water quality.
Are you curious about how we do these water quality tests? Recreational water quality testing relies on calculating the amount of E.coli in a water sample. E.coli, along with other coliform bacteria, are “indicator” bacteria used to assess the potential public health risk following exposure to water. At Ottawa Riverkeeper we use the Colilert test, which you can learn more about in the video below!
We’d also like to congratulate Swim Guide on reaching 1.5 million users this year! If you haven’t downloaded the app or checked the website yet, it is the best place to find local water quality data for your favourite beaches. We’re glad to be an affiliate and have the platform to easily share our data with our community and the broader public.
Accurate water quality data is an important part of staying safe while swimming at the beach or going out on the river. For more tips on staying safe while swimming, consult our blog on Water Safety.