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


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

Subsequent sampling of 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 along the Cape Fear River at the public beach area adjacent to the municipal pier at the end of South Davis Street in Southport. Tests of water samples taken on June 16 showed bacteria levels exceeding 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 June 23 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 210 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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