Update July 16: State recreational water quality officials Thursday lifted a water quality swimming advisory at the soundside site at the public access area at the north side mouth of Town Creek in Beaufort, Carteret County.
An advisory against swimming was posted Tuesday at the soundside public access area at the north side mouth of Town Creek in Beaufort.
Swimming advisories recommend not entering the water within 200 feet of the posted sign. The advisory is not a beach closing, nor does it cover the entire Beaufort area.
State recreational water quality officials found bacteria levels in the water there that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.
Test results of water samples from the site show a running monthly average of 48 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water. This exceeds the state and federal standards of a running monthly average of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters, based on five samples taken within a 30-day period, according to officials.
State officials will continue testing the site. When bacteria levels decrease to levels below the standards, officials will remove the sign and notify the public.
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.
Recreational water quality officials sample 210 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 fewer people are in the water.