Water quality swimming alert lifted for 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 sampling of the site shows that bacteria levels have dropped to within the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.

The alert was for waters at the public access located at the north side of the mouth of Town Creek in Beaufort. Test results of water samples taken on Tuesday showed the site had exceeded the single-sample maximum standard of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water for a Tier 1 high-usage site. Subsequent testing of samples taken on Wednesday showed the bacteria level at less than 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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