Update June 21: State recreational water quality officials lifted the water quality swimming advisory Wednesday at the Colington Harbour swim beach at the end of Colington Drive in Kill Devil Hills.
The advisory was lifted because water testing shows that bacteria levels have dropped below the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play, officials said Wednesday.
Original post from June 7 is below:
State recreational water quality officials warned Wednesday against swimming at the Colington Harbour swim beach at the end of Colington Drive in Kill Devil Hills.
Bacteria levels in the water at the soundside site in Dare County were found that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards, officials said Wednesday.
Test results of water samples indicate a running monthly average of 45 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.
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, officials said. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.
This 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 that indicate swimming is not recommended in the area because of bacteria levels.
State officials will continue testing the site, and they will remove the sign 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.