Water quality swimming advisories lifted for two sound-side sites in Carteret County


State recreational water quality officials today lifted water quality swimming advisories at two sound-side sites in Carteret County.

The advisories are lifted because water testing shows that bacteria levels have dropped below the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.

Both advisories being lifted were at public accesses to Bogue Sound in Morehead City. One was issued at 16th Street on July 7 and the other was issued at Sunset Drive on Aug. 3. At the time, tests of water samples collected at the sites showed a monthly average of the bacteria enterococci above the EPA-mandated level of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water, the standard for high-use sites. Subsequent testing of water samples collected at these sites found that bacteria levels have fallen below this standard.

The signs warning swimmers of high bacterial levels in the water at the sites have been removed. However, signs remain up that inform the public that there are stormwater discharge pipes in the area, and swimming is not recommended when the pipes are discharging.

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 show 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 and inform the public of any localized problems. The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program samples 213 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 or to a view a map of testing sites, visit the program’s website, and follow the program’s Twitter feed.

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