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Water quality swimming alerts lifted for two sound-side sites in Beaufort County

From North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality


MOREHEAD CITY — State recreational water quality officials today lifted water quality swimming alerts at two sound-side sites 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.

One of the alerts was for waters at the public access to Pantego Creek at the intersection of East Main and Tooley streets in Belhaven. The second alert was for waters at the Ragged Point swim area in the Pamlico River near Washington. Test results of water samples taken on June 26, 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.

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 209 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: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality or on Twitter.com @ncrecprgm.