Through the Swim Watch Program, MREAC monitors water quality at predetermined sites throughout the Miramichi River watershed. Beginning in 1993, 100 mL surface water samples have been collected during June, July, and August months. The samples, as of 2011, have been processed at the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC-Miramichi) laboratory, courtesy of the Environmental Technology department. The data is made available to interested stakeholders upon request.
The analytical results are compared to Health Canada’s Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality, Third Edition, 2012. The guideline suggest that an acceptable level for Escherichia coli (E. coli) in primary-contact recreational water should be ≤ 200 E. coli/100 mL (geometric mean concentration, minimum 5 samples) with a single sample maximum concentration of ≤ 400 E. coli/100 mL. If any sample exceeds this limit, MREAC staff resamples the site, and any site exceeding the limit for three consecutive samples is considered unsafe for recreational purposes and a recommendation is made to the NB Department of Health and Wellness to close the site.
The purpose of this project is to monitor the E. coli and total coliform levels at public beaches and common swimming holes throughout the Miramichi watershed in order to protect the health of recreational users.