Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nasty river water rant

I've got a problem with what's going on in Ottawa right now. Let me preface this by saying that I think swimming in lakes and rivers pretty gross on the best of days. Give me an ocean or highly chlorinated pool any day of the week. No moss, weird grasses, leeches or icky wildlife of any kind. But I know that's just me (and plenty of city folk out there, Scott, don't fool yourself) and I have no beef against anyone who swims in lakes or rivers that's just my choice.

Anyway, we in Ottawa being along the Ottawa and Rideau rivers have lots of these bodies of water to swim in. There are plenty of beaches for everyone to enjoy dotted throughout the city. There's even one in 15 minutes biking distance of our house.

Unfortunately because of a highly snowy winter and unusually wet summer, we've had many beach closings due to high E.coli numbers and water treatment plant spills. Fine. That's life in the big city. It happens. When this does occur, they naturally close all the local beaches to prevent people becoming ill. Also a natural progression. But here's where I have a problem.

They'll close the beach on Monday blaming an unacceptably high E.coli count. On Tuesday, the very next day, they'll say that the the count is fine and it's okay to swim. Whaaaa? Maybe it's marginally okay to swim but most kids injest a frickload of water while "swimming" and you're telling me that yesterday it was full of nastiness but today it's fine? Uck. I don't think so. It's like telling me, after a massive dump in the toilet, to just flush and it'll okay to drink. Um, no.

Now, don't get me wrong. I go to the beach. I even dip my toes in. But if you think I'll ever immerse my head, you'd better have yours examined. Of course I let my kids swim. I don't want them to have my paranoia. But you'll hear me calling to them from the sandy beach to keep their faces out of the water. Like I need to spend the night at the ER.

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