False Creek E. coli contamination threatens dragon boaters

Fecal bacteria count is 26 times higher than safe levels in Vancouver's False Creek.

Fecal bacteria count is 26 times higher than safe levels

Dragon boating is a popular activity in Vancouver's False Creek, but E. coli levels are raising concerns.

Fecal contamination of the water in Vancouver's False Creek is so high dragon boaters who paddle the waters are getting concerned.

At the east end of False Creek last week, the E. coli count was calculated  at 5319 bacteria per 100 ml of water — that's 26 times the acceptable limit of 200 for swimmers.

Ann Phelps, manager for Dragon Boat B.C. that operates out of False Creek, says this is the worst she's seen the water in 15 years.

"You know, the water is off-colour and there is always the risk, the danger in your mind that you could get sick. You could get an infected eye, or something similar to food poisoning, or worse. So it's not...it's not terrific."

While few people swim in the water on purpose, the area is popular with kayakers, paddle boarders, and dragon boaters, who also come in contact with the water.

Phelps says the E. coli count is still five times higher than the recommended safe level for secondary contact water activities, like paddling, of 1,000.

As a result Dragon Boat B.C. has moved some of its operations.

She blames boaters anchoring in False Creek, which she suspects are dumping their sewage in the water.

Other Metro Vancouver spots closed to swimming because of high E. coli counts include:

  • Eagle Harbour in West Vancouver - E. coli count 585.
  • Whytecliffe Park in West Vancouver - E. coli count 371.
  • Sunset Beach in downtown Vancouver - E. coli count 1024.

Google Maps: Dragon Boat B.C. in False Creek

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