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

Morehead City NC

State recreational water quality officials today lifted a water quality swimming alert at a sound-side site in Beaufort 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 affected waters at the Pamlico River- Ragged Point Swim Area near Washington. Testing of water samples taken Wednesday showed the site had exceeded the single-sample maximum standard of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water for a Tier I high-usage site. Subsequent testing of samples taken Thursday showed the bacteria level at less than 10 enterococci per 100 milliliters. 
Enterococcus, the organism used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it does not cause illness itself, scientific studies indicate that its presence is closely correlated to 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. 

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 204 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 its website at: or on @ncrecprgm.

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