Beaches and Pools

Water is a great way to feel refreshed whether you are swimming in a pool, playing on a splash pad or relaxing at the spa. But water is also an excellent place for germs to live. Illnesses can spread if recreational water is not cared for properly. Public health inspectors monitor recreational water including public pools, splash pads, and public spas or hot tubs.

Inspection results of all public recreational water is available online at Check it! We inspect it.

Recreational Water Illnesses

You can get recreational water illnesses (RWI) by swallowing, breathing, or having contact with polluted water from pools, spas, beaches and other types of recreational water.

Symptoms can range from eye, skin, ear, respiratory, and wound infections to more serious illnesses. The most commonly reported symptom of RWI is diarrhea caused by germs such as cryptosporidium, e. coli, giardia, norovirus, and shigella,


A beach closure (rarely issued) prohibits swimming due to a chemical or sewage spill, or the presence of blue-green algae.

Check the beach conditions on the local Grand River Conservation Authority website for beaches in Waterloo Region, Shade's Mills and Laurel Creek.

For advisories about beaches at provincial parks, please visit Ontario Parks.

If you are heading to the beach, keep the following in mind:

  • Never swallow beach water, at any time, no matter how clear the water
  • Rainfall has a significant impact on water quality. Run off from rain washes bacteria from the shore, fields, and streets into streams, rivers and lakes
  • Wind can cause waves, which can stir up the sand and silt and  can increase the levels of bacteria in the water
  • If the water is cloudy (when you can't see your feet in waist deep water) it means the sand and silt has been stirred up and that can increase levels of bacteria in the water
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after playing in the sand or water, especially before eating
  • The presence of seagulls, geese, ducks and their droppings can have a significant impact on water quality
  • Dead fish, algae/scum or debris in the water can increase the risk of illness or injury
  • Avoid swimming in you have an infection or open wound
  • Do not put your head underwater if you are susceptible to eye, ear, nose or throat infections

Pools and Spas

Public health inspectors regularly visit public pools, spas (hot tubs and whirlpools), splash pads, and wading pools to inspect the water. Recreational water must be continuously disinfected and maintained.

Making a complaint

Call 519-575-4400 to make a complaint or report online.

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