State recreational water quality officials have posted an advisory against swimming at a soundside site in Carteret County, where they found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.
The advisory posted Tuesday is for an area at the public access to Bogue Sound at Sunset Drive in Morehead City. Test results of water samples indicate 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.
Additionally, the advisory issued on July 6 for the public access to Bogue Sound at 16th Street in Morehead City remains in effect.
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 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.
An advisory is not a beach closing, nor does the advisory affect the entire Morehead City area. Swimming advisories are for waters within 200 feet of the sign.
N.C. Recreational Water Quality officials said they would continue testing the areas and would remove the signs and notify the public again when the bacteria levels decrease to levels below the standards.
Recreational water quality officials sample 215 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.