New Brunswick

Parlee and Murray beaches under no-swimming advisories

The provincial government is telling swimmers to avoid the two provincial parks along the Northumberland Strait after water samples showed fecal contamination.

Bacteria levels are well over the acceptable limit in samples taken Saturday

'No swimming' signs posted at Parlee Beach near Shediac. (CBC)

Parlee Beach and Murray Beach are under no-swimming advisories Monday because of water samples showing signs of fecal contamination.

Water samples from Saturday show an enterococcus contamination count of up to 233 at Parlee and 2,014 at Murray — way over the acceptable limit of 35 for the bacteria that indicate fecal contamination.

Levels for E. coli could be as high as 609 at Parlee, on the Northumberland Strait near Shediac, and 4,106 at Murray, almost 50 kilometres away.

Anything above a level of 400 is not considered safe for swimming.

These were the highest numbers yet this season.

Issuing the water-quality levels and advisories online for all to see has become part of the government's plan to better inform the public of possible contamination at the beaches.

Parlee Beach became notorious for water-quality issues after a CBC News investigation revealed that the water was not safe for swimming on many days in the summer of 2016. Some confusion over signage led many tourists to believe it was.

After months of controversy over failing to advise the public of contaminated water, the Liberal government introduced new water-monitoring protocols in April.

Adhering to Canadian guidelines, they include posting signs that clearly indicate if the water is suitable for swimming, as well as monitoring the water more often.