Water quality swimming alerts issued for sites in Beaufort County

Published 5:13 pm Wednesday, July 25, 2018

From North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries


MOREHEAD CITY — Alerts against swimming were posted today at four sound-side locations, one in Carteret County, one in Craven County and two in Beaufort County. State officials found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.

The alerts affect public swimming areas at these locations: Cedar Island beach access west of the ferry landing off of Sand View Drive; Neuse River located at 820 Neuse Drive near New Bern; Pamlico River located at the Ragged Point swim area in Goose Creek State Park; and in Pantego Creek located at the intersection of East Main and Tooley streets in Belhaven. Water samples taken on July 24 indicate levels that exceed the state and federal single-sample standards considered safe for swimming.

State officials tested these sites again Wednesday, and the results of the sampling will dictate further action. If the new samples also show elevated bacteria counts, state officials will post a swimming advisory sign and issue a swimming advisory.

The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program tests water quality at ocean and sound beaches in accordance with federal and state laws.

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.

State officials sample 209 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 the waters are colder.

To find out more about North Carolina’s beach water quality, visit the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality or on Twitter.com @ncrecprgm.