Water quality swimming advisory issued for sound-side site in Carteret County

MOREHEAD CITY

An advisory against swimming was posted today at a sound-side site in Carteret County, where state recreational water quality officials found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards. 

The advisory is for an area at the public access to Bogue Sound at Sunset Drive in Morehead City. Test results of water samples indicate a running monthly average of 40 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water. This exceeds the state and federal standards of a running monthly average of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters, based on five samples taken within a 30-day period. 

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. 

This advisory is not a beach closing, nor does the advisory affect the entire Morehead City area. Swimming advisories are for waters within 200 feet of the sign. The sign posted reads as follows:

ATTENTION
SWIMMING IN THIS AREA IS NOT RECOMMENDED. BACTERIA TESTING INDICATES 
LEVELS OF CONTAMINATION THAT MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR
HEALTH. THIS ADVISORY AFFECTS WATERS WITHIN 200’ OF THIS SIGN.
OFFICE OF THE STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR

State officials will continue testing these areas, and they will remove the sign and notify the public again when the bacteria levels decrease to levels below the standards. 

Recreational water quality officials sample 213 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 fewer people are in the water. 

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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