Government of New Brunswick

It is safe to swim at Parlee Beach?
Based on the 2017 water quality results Government has no evidence to believe that Parlee Beach has a chronic water quality issue and that water quality at Parlee Beach is suitable for swimming. In fact, our data reveal that in 95% of the time, the water quality was good at the beach last summer.

Government of New Brunswick is committed to ensuring the safety of New Brunswick residents and visitors and it will continue to use its protocol for beach water quality monitoring, including related public communications to proactively inform the public of water quality ratings and their interpretation.


What does a “No Swimming” advisory mean?  Am I still allowed to swim?
A “No Swimming” advisory means that the bacterial levels found in the water exceed the guidelines values established in the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality.

The beach is not closed. However, swimming in waters with bacteria levels above the Guideline Values increase the risk of illness.  The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends avoiding activities that are likely to cause some water to be swallowed, such as when the body or face are immersed or frequently wetted by spray.  It is also recommended that people who have open sores or wounds should avoid contact with the water.

The beach would only be closed to the public where evidence suggests that continued operation poses a significant public health risk.  Examples of situations that may warrant a beach closure are:

  • suspicion that the area is responsible for a waterborne disease outbreak;
  • a sewage, chemical or oil spill; or
  • sharp objects/debris or other public safety hazards


Who ensures beach water quality is monitored at Parlee?
The Department of Environment and Local Government is responsible for the oversight of sample collection and ensuring that proper training on collecting samples is provided. Only personnel that have received proper training are allowed to collect water samples at this beach. The water samples are then sent to an accredited, laboratory for analysis. A Medical Officer of Health receives and interprets the monitoring results.


What is considered a safe level of bacteria in recreational water?
The Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality have established guideline values that strike a balance between potential health risks and the benefits of recreational water use in terms of physical activity and enjoyment. There is always a slight risk of health effects when swimming, just as there are risks associated with other common activities, such as driving your car.

The Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality consider the water safe for swimming when bacteria levels are below the guideline values listed in the table below. In these cases the water is open and suitable for swimming.

If any of the guideline values are exceeded, it is no longer considered an acceptable risk, and the public is warned that the water is not suitable for swimming.


Will I get sick if I recently swam in waters where there is now a warning?
Swimming in waters with bacteria levels above the Guideline Values does not mean that you will get sick.  Possible health risks of swimming in water with a high enterococci or E. coli count could include skin irritation or infection, upper respiratory illness, and gastrointestinal upset.


What should I do if I think I am getting sick?
You can get sick from a variety of exposures in your environment (contact with other sick people, contaminated food, contaminated environments etc). If you experience symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps or rash that are not resolving you should seek attention from a health professional.