It’s not what beach-goers in Port Stanley, Ont. wants to hear heading into the first long weekend of the summer; that the water is unsafe.

While a refreshing splash in the water at Little Beach may seem like a good idea on a hot day, that changes when you see the posted warning signs.

Amy Pavletic of Southwestern Public Health, says, “The advisory is posted based on sampling that we did on Monday that showed us after the water was tested that there were higher levels of E. coli than we say is acceptable for swimming in.”

Both Little Beach in Port Stanley and Erie Rest Beach near Long Point are currently unsafe to swim in.

“The advisory is to inform the public to take precautions and be aware of the potential for the risk of getting sick from swimming in those waters,” Pavletic adds.

It’s not something any beach community wants to hear heading into the long weekend, but businesses that rely on visitors to Lake Erie are optimistic.

“With water warnings, things like that, they come and they go, and by next week I’m sure things will be fine again,” says Anne Marie Stevens, owner of the Little Beach Shop.

The Main Beach in Port Stanley is not affected by this warning, so there is a safe alternativea.

Health officials recommend not swimming in affected water at all until it’s safe again, because E. coli can turn a beach day into sick day.

“E. coli is a bacteria we can see in our environment and sometimes in our food that can cause gastrointestinal illness,” Pavletic says.

She adds that if there is E. coli present in the water, it’s an indicator organism, which means there’s a possibility of other unsafe organisms being in the water as well.

You can find beach testing results for Elgin-St. Thomas and Oxford on the Southwestern Public Health website.