Albert Dyck Park reopened but swimming still banned

E. coli levels have fallen but remain too high and risk causing illness

Swimming in Walmsly Lake is prohibited due to high E. Coli levels.

Swimming in Walmsly Lake is prohibited due to high E. Coli levels.

Albert Dyck Park is open again, but swimming is still forbidden due to elevated E. coli levels.

The Valley Wake Park, though, is operating.

Meanwhile, those who swam in Walmsley Lake before it was closed last weekend could still be at risk of becoming ill this weekend.

It can take as many as 10 days after exposure before someone starts experiencing the flu-like symptoms, according to Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma.

“We would recommend if there were people who were swimming [last] weekend, if in about a week to 10 days time, they have these symptoms – the vomiting, the fever, the diarrhea, and all the rest of it – to go see your doctor and be tested because it may be due to the E. coli that you may have swallowed while you were swimming in the lake,” said Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma.

Due to its long gestation period, determining the cause of E. coli poisoning can be difficult but there haven’t been any recorded cases attributed to lake water in the health authority’s area in recent years, said Juma.

“You may have been at the beach this weekend and not get sick until next weekend and often people just assume it’s food-related or it’s a flu virus that’s going around,” she said.

The man-made lake (sometimes referred to as Molson Lake) in Albert Dyck Park was closed to swimmers this week after a Friday, July 22 test conducted by the City of Abbotsford returned E. coli levels above acceptable levels. The swimming portion was removed from a BC Summer Games triathlon, after a Friday triathlon went ahead before test results were known.

Towed water sports on Walmsley Lake were allowed to go ahead on Sunday, due to the lower risk of poisoning.

In order to poison someone, E. coli must be swallowed, which can happen while swimming or from transfer to food after swimming. The best way to prevent poisoning is to wash your hands after swimming, said Juma.

Testing is usually done weekly to track the often changing levels of E. coli. People and animals walking in the water and disturbing sediment, changes in water levels and increases in local bird population can all cause higher levels of E. coli, according to Juma.

While recent tests have shown a drop in E. coli levels, they remain too high for swimming. Fraser Health couldn’t say when it may be safe to swim in the lake.

The most recent test results are posted on Fraser Health’s website.

The Canadian Wakeboard Nationals are slated to take part at the lake from Aug. 4 to 7.