Water quality swimming alerts lifted for two ocean-side sites in Pender County


State recreational water quality officials lift two water quality swimming alerts at ocean-side sites in Pender County.

Subsequent sampling of these site show that bacteria levels have dropped below the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.

The alerts affected swimming areas along Topsail Island.  The first was located at the public beach access at South Shore Drive and Kinston Avenue adjacent to the ocean pier in Surf City and the other was located at the public beach access #1A across from Catherine Avenue in Topsail Beach. Water samples taken on Oct. 19, showed these sites had exceeded the single-sample maximum standard of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water for a Tier 1 high usage site. Subsequent testing on Oct. 20 showed bacteria levels that fall within state and federal standards.

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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