New water sampling test means fewer closures for Sherbrooke beaches

The application of a new water sampling procedure has cut beach closures in Sherbrooke in half over just one year.

The beach at Lucien-Blanchard Park was closed nine times in 2016, compared with 15 times in 2015.

The municipal beach at Deauville was closed only once, compared with two closures the previous year.

The city says it carried out preventive closures in the case of Lucien-Blanchard Park before periods of rainfall.

"It works very well. We have the results 24 hours after sampling, but often the quality of the water has improved," explains Chantal Pelchat, environmental project manager.

The strategy helped maintain better water quality, with an average B rating.

A-quality water is considered excellent while B is good, C is passable and D is classified as polluted by the government's testing program, Environnement-Plage.

Some municipalities in the Eastern Townships began testing the water quality at their beaches themselves several years ago, saying that the governmental program responsible for testing was doing a poor job.

In 2010, three-year-old Aimée Carbonneau nearly died from an E. coli infection she contracted while swimming at Deauville public beach.