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Precautionary advisory lifted for ocean swimming sites from Fort Fisher to Fort Macon

MOREHEAD CITY

State officials today lifted a precautionary advisory against swimming for ocean beaches from Fort Fisher to Fort Macon.

Test results of water samples show that bacteria levels at ocean swimming sites in New Hanover, Pender, and Onslow counties, and most of Carteret county meet state and Environmental Protection Agency standards for swimming and other contact with the water.

State officials are still collecting and testing water samples from ocean swimming sites at Cape Lookout National Seashore and in Currituck, Dare, Hyde and Brunswick counties. Consequently, the precautionary swimming advisory remains in effect for ocean beaches in these areas.

The precautionary advisory also remains in effect for sound-side waters in all 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 precautionary advisory was issued Sept. 3 as Hurricane Dorian approached the North Carolina coast because 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 these waters, there is an increased chance that contamination is present, and those swimming have an increased chance of adverse health effects.

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.