Local residents are being encouraged to watch for a variety of signs that beaches are safe for swimming, not just the obvious ‘warning’ ones posted by the Health Unit. This week, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is launching its 2018 beach water testing program. Between now and Labour Day, Health Unit staff will take weekly water samples at beaches Haliburton County. If the tests come back unsafe with high levels of e. coli bacteria the Health Unit puts up large yellow warning signs However, people going to a beach can also look out for other warning signs that could affect the water quality like Heavy rain, high winds or wave activity or the presence of a large number of birds, such as geese or seagulls nesting near the beach. Fecal matter from these birds can drive up bacterial counts in the water. The Health Unit advises that if you have any doubts about water safety, it’s best to avoid the beach and try again when conditions improve.