State recreational water quality officials today lifted water quality swimming advisories at two sound-side sites in Carteret County.
The advisories were lifted because water testing shows that bacteria levels now meet the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.
Both advisories were for areas in Morehead City. The first was posted on July 7 at the public access to Bogue Sound at 16th Street and the second was posted on July 25 at the public access to Bogue Sound at Sunset Drive. These areas showed a monthly average of the bacteria enterococci above the EPA-mandated level of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water, the standard for high-use sites. Subsequent testing of water samples collected at these sites found that bacteria levels have fallen below this standard. The signs advising against swimming, skiing or otherwise coming into contact with the water has been removed.
Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, is found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it is not known to cause illness, scientific studies show 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 and inform the public of any localized problems. The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program samples 215 sites in coastal waters of the state, most of them on a weekly basis from April through October.