State recreational water quality officials have posted for the second time this month an advisory against swimming at a soundside site in Dare County.
The advisory was posted Wednesday because bacteria levels in the water at the Colington Harbour swim beach at the end of Colington Drive in Kill Devil Hills exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards, officials said.
The advisory is not a beach closing, nor does the advisory affect the entire Colington Harbour area. Swimming advisories are for waters within 200 feet of the sign.
The water samples tested indicate a running monthly average of 36 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, officials said.
Enterococci is the bacteria group used for testing because it 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.
State officials will continue testing the site. the public will be notified when the bacteria levels decrease to below 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.