Although low water levels can lead to a higher concentration of bacteria and parasites in swimming areas, public health inspector Brian Norris said this was not the case at Pither’s Point.
“We monitor the point and Sunny Cove weekly,” he said. “It’s been clean though, surprisingly. Our testing for bacteriological qualities has come back pretty good.”
But Norris warned many cases of “swimmer’s itch” have been reported across the district this summer.
The parasite which causes this skin irritation has a complex life cycle that involves the presence of water fowl, which have been more numerous this year.
It is not necessarily linked to low water levels.
Due to the lower numbers of swimmers out at Pither’s Point at this time of the year, the Northwestern Health Unit only is scheduled to sample once more next week.
“After that, we’ll play it by ear,” Norris said.
But another potential danger facing children is reduced visibility. The murky waters of Sand Bay, clouded with clay particles, can reduce visibility to a dangerous point, Norris noted.
Children should be careful when jumping off the dock, and during horseplay, since it may be difficult to see others swimming beneath the surface of the water.
Distance also is a safety factor. With the water so low, children may wade 15-30 feet from shore before it’s even up to their knees.
Coupled with the murky water, it may be difficult for a parent or guardian to see if their child is in trouble, and take too long to reach them should a problem arise.