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Precautionary swimming advisory is now lifted for all coastal waters south of Ocracoke Inlet

MOREHEAD CITY

The precautionary advisory against swimming is now been lifted for all coastal waters south of Ocracoke Inlet.

State officials today lifted the precautionary advisory for recreational swimming sites on the Neuse and Pamlico rivers and for sound-side sites in Carteret County north of Morehead City. Test results of water samples taken from these waters show bacterial levels that meet the state and Environmental Protection Agency standards for swimming and other contact with the water.

The precautionary advisory was previously lifted for all ocean swimming sites in Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender, Onslow, and Carteret counties and for all sound-side sites from the South Carolina state line to Morehead City.

The precautionary advisory against swimming remains in effect for all ocean and sound-side sites in Hyde, Dare, and Currituck counties. Several towns along the beaches in Dare and Currituck counties are still pumping stormwater to the ocean. State officials are continuing to collect samples and test for bacterial levels in these counties. Early results of tests completed so far show levels of bacteria that exceed the state and Environmental Protection Agency standards for swimming and other contact with the water. To see results of these tests, go to the Sampling Data Map on the Recreational Water Quality Program’s website.

Residents and visitors, including fishermen, who cannot avoid contacting those waters should exercise caution, limit wound exposure, and thoroughly wash their hands.

State officials will continue to test the waters at swimming sites in Hyde, Dare and Currituck counties and notify the public when test results show bacteria levels meet the state and Environmental Protection Agency standards.

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.

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