The swimming area of Papermill Dam, photographed during the Alberni Valley News’ 2018 Day in the Life photo day, is closed to all in-water activities due to high bacterial counts. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

UPDATE: Advisory lifted for Papermill Dam in Port Alberni

Papermill Dam was closed on both sides of Somass River due to high E. coli counts

Papermill Dam beaches on both sides of the Somass River in Port Alberni have been reopened after high bacterial counts discovered in the water temporarily closed the beaches to swimming.

The First Nations Health Authority lifted the advisory for the beach immediately across the river from Papermill Dam Park after water samples taken Wednesday, Aug. 7 and Thursday, Aug. 8 indicated that Enterococci bacteria levels have returned to within acceptable levels. Island Health has also stated that the advisory for the beach at Papermill Dam may also be lifted.

“The City of Port Alberni will continue to monitor water samples at all public beach sites and communicate results as required,” city CAO Tim Pley said in a press release.

Both the First Nation Health Authority and City of Port Alberni issued advisories closing the beaches to swimming last week. The Tseshaht First Nation also closed the Somass Dam Beach (Hector Road side of Papermill Dam) on Wednesday morning to all in-water activities.

“We are working with the FNHA to find the source of the issue,” a post read on the Tseshaht Facebook page.

A water sample taken July 25 at the Hector Road side of Papermill Dam showed 3,400 parts per 100 mL (colony forming units, or CFU) of E. coli and other coliforms. That is far higher than Island Health standards of 400 parts per 100 mL, or Canadian drinking water standards of 200 CFU.

READ: Swim advisory lifted at Canal Beach

Tests were conducted on the Falls Street side of the park too, under direction of the City of Port Alberni. That side falls within city limits.

“The city will undertake and submit water samples for testing and will keep an advisory in effect until such time as Island Health is satisfied with results,” Pley said in a press release at the time.

The City of Port Alberni lifted an advisory at Canal Waterfront Park (Canal Beach) on Friday after that beach was plagued with high readings of enterococci (the same bacterial family as E. coli, except it occurs in salt water). Readings taken at Polly’s Point, around the corner from Canal Beach, were within acceptable levels last week, Pley noted in an earlier story.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUINN’S QUIPS: Port Alberni woman honoured for her love of helping

Carolina Tatoosh earns provincial honours for her work with Nuu-chah-nulth elders, youth

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

New gazebo for Victoria Quay opens with help from Alberni Rotary club

A new gazebo that has been erected at Victoria Quay is the… Continue reading

New Vancouver Island airline eyes Alberni’s airport for charter flights

ACRD has work to do to support air operations, says GM of environmental services

True crime podcaster on mid Island inspired by case of missing Island woman

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of 21-year-old Lisa Marie Young

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read