Water quality swimming alert lifted for a sound-side site in Carteret County


State recreational water quality officials today lifted a water quality swimming alert at a sound-side site in Carteret County.

Subsequent testing of water samples collected at the site shows that bacteria levels have dropped below the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.

The alert was for waters at the at the west end of North River Bridge off U.S. 70 near Otway. Tests of water samples taken on Sept. 25, showed bacteria levels at the site had exceeded the single-sample maximum standard of 276 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water for a Tier 2 low usage site. Subsequent testing of samples collected on Sept. 26 showed the bacteria level at 10 enterococci per 100 milliliters. 

Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it is not known to cause illness, scientific studies indicate that enterococci may indicate the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.

Coastal recreational waters in North Carolina are generally clean. However, it is important to continue monitoring them, so the public can be informed of any localized problems. The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program samples 209 sites in coastal waters of the state, most of them on a weekly basis from April through October.

For more information on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program, visit the program’s website, view a map of the testing sites, and follow the program’s Twitter feed.


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