Advisories issued for 3 Shuswap Lake beaches due to E. coli
Contamination caused by septic tank malfunction, says Adams Lake Indian Band councillor
The Adams Lake Indian Band has issued water quality advisories for three beaches on Shuswap Lake in B.C.'s Southern Interior due to high levels of E.coli.
The areas affected include Sandy Point Campground, Pierre's Point Campground and Glen Echo Campground.
Engineers determined the water was contaminated by a malfunction in one of the septic tanks, said band councillor Steven Teed.
"They are beautiful beaches and there's thousands of campers that go there every week, and just due to the volume of people, and overworking the system, it malfunctioned," Teed told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.
Some of the campgrounds are nearly 70 years old, and there is some old equipment and infrastructure that needs to be replaced, said Teed.
"They're just older systems and we're still investigating that, how bad of a situation it is."
So far, part of the septic system has already been repaired and replaced.
Discoloration in water
The band's council first became aware of the situation when people pointed out some discoloration and different forms of algae in the water, said Teed.
"We called First Nations Health Authority as soon as that came to our attention to get to the bottom of the situation," he added.
The water in the lake was considered not safe for swimming after tests came back positive for high levels of E.coli.
So far, Teed has not heard of anyone getting sick.
"We've been working on fixing it and remediating the water as soon as we can for the swimmers," said Teed.
In the meantime, water testing will continue.
"Now that we've fixed some of the issues, the water will start to clear and clean itself out," said Teed.
"Hopefully we'll be able to open up some of those beaches shortly, but until we get the approval from the First Nations Health Authority, we're maintaining the warning just for public safety."
With files from Daybreak Kamloops