Three sites fail this week’s Swim Guide test

Published 4:00 pm Friday, June 10, 2022

From Sound Rivers

WASHINGTON [June 10, 2022] — Three sites failed the Swim Guide test this week in the Tar-Pamlico watershed — and the Mason’s Landing boat and kayak launch was by far the worst of them.

Waters samples gathered Thursday were tested for the bacteria E. coli. According to Sound Rivers’ data, Mason’s Landing’s E. coli levels measured greater than 1,413 MPN (most probable number), where the EPA’s standard for recreational water quality is 235 MPN and below.

Mason’s Landing is on Tranter’s Creek, a tributary of the Tar-Pamlico.

Dinah’s Landing at Goose Creek State Park and Cotton Patch Landing on Blounts Creek also exceeded state and federal recreational water-quality standards but at much lower levels: Dinah’s Landing measured 364 MPN; Cotton Patch Landing, 249.

Swim Guide is an international water-quality program conducted locally by Sound Rivers, an environmental nonprofit with a mission to keep North Carolina’s waterways fishable, swimmable and drinkable.

Each week, a team of Sound Rivers’ volunteers gathers water samples at 54 popular recreation sites along the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico river basins, from the Raleigh-Durham area to the Pamlico Sound. The samples are then tested for the bacteria E. coli by Sound Rivers’ staff, and results are released to the public, providing an easy way to find out where it’s safe to swim. Where it’s not, boaters, swimmers and their pets should avoid the water or practice caution at these sites, as exposure to bacteria-laden waters comes with an increased risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin infections.

Twenty-three of the 54 Swim Guide sampling sites are located in the Tar-Pamlico River basin: five recreational sites at Lake Royale, near Louisburg; Tar River Reservoir and Battle Park in Rocky Mount; the River Road boat access near Tarboro;  Town Common, Wildwood Park and Port Terminal in Greenville; Yankee Hall at Pactolus; the downtown waterfront, Mason’s Landing and Havens Gardens boat ramp in Washington; Chocowinity Bay at Cypress Landing; Broad Creek at Pamlico Plantation; Blounts Bay and Blounts Creek at Cotton Patch Landing; Dinah’s Landing at Goose Creek State Park; Bonner Point and Plum Point on Bath Creek; and the Pungo River at Woodstock Point, near Belhaven.

Sound Rivers’ Swim Guide program is sponsored by the Water-Quality Fund in memory of Gene Pate, Grady-White Boats, Cummins, Edward Jones – Rod Cantrell, Cypress Landing, UNC Lenoir Health Care, the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program, Greenville (evening) Rotary Club, UNC Pavel Molchanov Scholars, ECU SECU Public Fellows Internship Foundation, City of Greenville, Lake Royale Property Owners Association, Melinda Vann and David Silberstein, and Wendy and Tim Wilson. To sign up for Swim Guide notifications, go to www.soundrivers.org/swimguide or text “SWIM” to 33222 for weekly water-quality text updates. For more information about Sound Rivers, visit soundrivers.org.