Update: Vancouver Island Health Authority has deemed Glen Lake is safe for swimming.
High bacteria levels have caused the Vancouver Island Health Authority to issue a warning for Glen Lake.
Swimmers have been advised to stay out the lake for about a week and VIHA staff will continue to test the bacteria levels throughout the summer. When the levels drop to a safe amount, the advisory will come down.
Erwin Dyck, supervisor of VIHA’s health protection environmental services, said Canada geese are likely the problem, but ducks and dogs on the beach can add to higher bacteria counts.
“Based on what we’ve seen, the geese are the primary source of the high bacteria levels,” Dyck said.
VIHA began sampling at the lake in May and bacteria levels were low until the numbers began to climb in mid-June.
The VIHA staff use a geometric mean of five samples to determine when levels get too high.
“At the beginning of July the number jumped up again,” Dyck said. “We haven’t closed the lake, but we are advising people it’s not a good idea to go in the lake.”
On a follow-up sample the numbers decreased, but VIHA still recommends people refrain from going for a dip until further notice.
The bacteria levels are low enough that people probably wouldn’t get skin irritation, but if the water is ingested it could lead to a gastrointestinal illness, Dyck said.
“Kids splashing the water are bound to get a mouthful or two.”