CHR shuts down water play area at Eau Claire Market



chris bolin/for metro calgary


Contaminated waters Oana Alpopi and her 14-month-old son Andrei look over an empty water play area at Eau Claire Market yesterday, after the city closed the facility when water samples revealed high levels of bacteria and fecal matter. The city also closed a pool at Prairie Winds Park on Friday.


Disappointed parents and children were turned away from yet another city pool yesterday after the city discovered water samples from the pool water revealed high levels of bacteria and fecal matter.

chris bolin for metro calgary

Caution tape surrounds a water play area at Eau Claire Market, shut down by authorities yesterday.

The water play area at Eau Claire shut down Monday morning became the second pool drained since Friday when Prairie Winds Park in the northeast was emptied for the same reason. Prairie Winds re-opened yesterday.

Chad Beegant, co-ordinator of environmental health for the Calgary Health Region, said the reason there are higher than acceptable contamination numbers is because there are higher number of kids in the water due to the heat wave.

“Because of the beautiful weather there are a lot more people in the water. There is a lot more kids and bathers in the water and the disinfectant system just can’t keep up and at some point there was a failure,” Beegant said.

Samples from both pools showed high levels of bacteria and of coli forms, or fecal matter which can come in the form of E. coli. Samples from the pools are collected daily and the chlorine levels are checked every two hours.

“These types of bacteria in the water could cause illness especially in the young, old and compromised but also it could cause skin rashes and gastrointestinal issues.”


Beegant said parents shouldn’t be too concerned yet but should always take precautionary matters for their children such as observing the type of bathers in the water, like children whose diapers are hanging off. Parents should also watch for cloudy water and always shower their kids off afterwards.

Oana Alpopi brought her 14-month-old son to the wading pool at Eau Claire as usual but yesterday found it bare and deserted, which concerned her.

“I don’t know if I would come back, I guess only if they assure us they will check the water everyday for bacteria,” she said, while holding her son Andrei.

The pool won’t be open for at least 48 hours while the region tests the latest sample taken but hopes are kids will be splashing again by tomorrow or Friday.