Bacteria testing shows swimming sites in Dare, Currituck counties meet standards

Raleigh, NC

State officials announced today that bacteria levels at swimming sites in Dare and Currituck counties meet state and Environmental Protection Agency standards for swimming and other contact with the water.

 

A precautionary water quality advisory remains in effect for all other coastal counties. Residents and visitors, including fishermen, who cannot avoid contacting those waters should exercise caution, limit wound exposure, and thoroughly wash their hands.

 

The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program has tested all established swimming sites in Dare and Currituck counties and found that bacteria levels fall with the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.

 

The Recreational Water Quality Program has been unable to test waters in other coastal counties due to the impacts from Hurricane Florence.

 

Excessive rains and flooding can cause high levels of bacteria in the water that can make people sick. Floodwaters and storm water runoff can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, pet waste, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals.

 

While state officials do not have immediate laboratory confirmation that disease-causing organisms are in the waters, there is an increased chance that contamination is present, and those swimming have an increased chance of adverse health effects.

 

The Recreational Water Quality Program will begin testing in other coastal areas as soon as conditions are safe to do so, the areas are accessible, and testing equipment is functional. The advisory will be lifted in part or in whole as test results become available.

 

Because waters affected by the storm are so widespread, signs are not posted.

 

Recreational water quality officials sample 209 sites throughout the coastal region, most of them on a weekly basis from April to October. Testing continues on a reduced schedule during the rest of the year, when waters are colder.

 

For more information about coastal recreational water quality, visit the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program’s website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality or on Twitter.com @ncrecprgm.