State officials today lifted a precautionary advisory against swimming for ocean beaches in most of Brunswick County, and in the remainder of Carteret County.
Test results of water samples taken from ocean beaches from Holden Beach to Bald Head Island, as well as at Cape Lookout National Seashore, show bacterial levels that meet the state and Environmental Protection Agency standards for swimming and other contact with the water. The precautionary advisory was lifted yesterday for ocean beaches in New Hanover, Pender, Onslow counties, and the remainder of Carteret County.
Test results of water samples collected at Ocean Isle Beach are not yet final, so the precautionary advisory remains in effect for this area.
Additionally, the precautionary advisory against swimming remains in effect for ocean sites in Hyde, Dare, and Currituck counties. Several towns along the beaches in Dare and Currituck counties are still pumping stormwater to the ocean. State officials are continuing to collect samples and test for bacterial levels in these counties. Early results of tests completed so far show levels of bacteria that exceed the state and Environmental Protection Agency standards for swimming and other contact with the water. To see results of these tests, go to the Sampling Data Map on the Recreational Water Quality Program’s website.
The precautionary advisory also remains in effect for sound-side waters in all coastal counties, as state officials are still monitoring these areas.
Residents and visitors, including fishermen, who cannot avoid contacting those waters should exercise caution, limit wound exposure, and thoroughly wash their hands.
The precautionary advisory was issued Sept. 3 as Hurricane Dorian approached the North Carolina coast because excessive rains and flooding can cause high levels of bacteria in the water that can make people sick. Floodwaters and storm water runoff can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, pet waste, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals.
Recreational water quality 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 waters are colder.
For more information about coastal recreational water quality, visit the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program’s website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality or on Twitter.com @ncrecprgm.