A swimming advisory has been in place for Maiden Lake in Fernie for over a month, after staff reported E. coli during a routine water quality inspection in June 2020. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Fernie’s Maiden Lake returns E. coli result for second month

A swimming advisory remains in place for the lake in Fernie

Over a month after it was first issued, a swimming advisory is staying in place for Fernie’s Maiden Lake, where city staff detected high levels of E. coli during routine testing in late June.

According to city staff, further testing has shown that E. coli is still present in the water as of late July.

Maiden Lake is a retention pond for water runoff from the golf course and nearby stormwater catchments, holding 58,000 cubic metres of water that is destined for the Elk River.

Last week the Elk River Alliance (ERA) installed three floating gardens on the lake, populated by native sedges, rushes and cattails which will help filter the water in the lake by removing excess nutrients, sediment, contaminants and pathogens from the water.

The floating gardens are part of a pilot project, and the program by the ERA will be expanded to other catchments in the area in partnership with the City of Fernie should it prove successful in helping filter the water.

Despite being a retention pond, Maiden Lake and the surrounding park is a popular destination for Fernie locals throughout the year, proving a valuable location for skating in winter, and is regularly used by stand-up paddle boarders in summer.

Alas, with the swimming advisory, those seeking to beat the heat in the valley this week will have to consider swimming elsewhere.

Temperatures in Fernie are projected to reach above 30 degrees for most days in the seven-day forecast from July 29, as most of the Southern Interior and Coastal B.C. endures the second heatwave in a month.

READ MORE: Floating wetlands planted at Maiden Lake to clean stormwater

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