August 16, 2003

Precautions for recreational use of Tannery Creek

Newmarket: The public is advised not to have contact with or consume water from the Tannery Creek and its tributaries. The Tannery Creek runs north from Aurora through Newmarket (Fairy Lake), Rogers Reservoir, and Holland River to Cook's Bay on Lake Simcoe.

Activities including swimming and fishing should be suspended. Persons who came in contact with the water after August 14th are asked to seek medical attention if they experience nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, severe headaches, fever or skin rashes.

Raw sewage from the Aurora Pumping Station, located at St. John's Sideroad in the Town of Aurora, escaped into the Tannery Creek as a result of a malfunction during the power outage during the evening of August 14th. Seepage was contained and the Pumping Station is operating as required. Staff from York Region and Ontario Ministry of the Environment are investigating the situation and conducting tests of the surrounding water.

As a precautionary measure, York Region has closed the following public bathing beaches in the Town of Georgina, along Cook's Bay at the south end of Lake Simcoe, until further notice:

York Region Health Services Department will advise the public when the beaches can be reopened. Health Services personnel are conducting water sampling tests upstream and downstream from the spill, in addition to behind the Tannery Mall in Newmarket, at Queensville Sideroad at Holland River and beaches at Cook's Bay.

Water supplies from municipal systems are safe to consume and are not affected by this advisory. Residents on private well water supplies are also not affected by this advisory. However, private wells affected by a power outage, such as pump failure, should be disinfected prior to reusing the water supply. Alternately boiled, bottled or municipally treated water can be used safely.

For further information contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at



The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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