Precautionary swimming advisory issued for ocean sites in Oak Island where floodwater pumping has occurred


State recreational water quality officials today advised beachgoers to avoid swimming or surfing in waters where floodwaters are being pumped to the ocean surf in Oak Island.

Recent heavy rains caused flooding of streets, yards, and housing in parts of Oak Island and nearby communities. To minimize the flooding damage and to ensure roads are accessible for emergency vehicles, the town has pumped floodwater into the ocean near Southeast 79th Street and Crowell Street.

These waters can contain pollutants such as waste from wildlife and pets, oil and gasoline from parking lots and waste from septic systems or sewers.

This notice does not imply that disease-causing organisms are present in the water; it is meant to caution beachgoers of an increased risk of contamination that can cause adverse health effects.

State recreational water quality officials will place signs at the discharge site along the ocean beach to warn the public of the possible health risk.

State officials will remove the signs and notify the public 24 hours after the pumping stops.

Officials with the state Recreational Water Quality Program sample 210 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 the waters are colder.  

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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