Beach Advisory: Clarke Road Beach Access

Island Health has noted a quality issue with water sampling at Clarke Road beach access this week and has issued a No Swimming Advisory. Signage is posted and will remain posted until bacteria levels drop. Residents and pets are advised not to enter the water.

Beach sampling for 2024 is now underway. The beach sampling program is active each year between mid-May to September.

When the municipality receives this information from Island Health, we contact the Capital Regional District (CRD) to request they investigate possible land sources of contamination, our staff investigates Central Saanich's municipal sewer system near the beach to ensure there are no leakages, and we follow the Island Health reports closely to monitor the situation and inform the public. ​

Questions and Answers

What is the bacteria? The sample for salt water beaches on the Island looks at levels of the bacteria enterococci.

What causes high levels of enterococciSeveral factors can influence the levels of enterococci, including tide levels, animal feces, summer water temperatures and heat, and runoff from precipitation events. For more information, please see Island Health Beach Report Q&Asand/or contact Island Health, Greater Victoria Beaches at 250.519.3401.

What is the risk? Swimming in contaminated water can result in increased risk of ear, nose and throat infections or gastrointestinal illnesses.

Is the beach closed? Public beaches are not technically "closed" to public access. A warning sign is posted advising the public that the water may be unsafe for swimming.

What is the process involved in declaring a Beach Advisory? Island Health collects water samples from various beaches.  If a test result is high, they re-test.  If the second sample is high and there are public health concerns, they will advise the public through onsite signage and notices on their website.

When will the advisory be lifted? Island Health will be sampling the water on a regular basis to monitor the levels and will advise the public when the water is safe to swim in.

Who is investigating potential contamination sources? An Environmental Health Officer (EHO) monitors levels of contamination in storm drain pipes, creeks and the nearshore marine environment in approximately 500 locations. The aim of the monitoring is to identify sources and assess potential impacts to public and environmental health. The data is summarized in annual reports and used by our municipal partners, other jurisdictions and the community, to identify sources of contamination and direct clean-up, infrastructure upgrades and restoration activities.