State recreational water quality officials lifted water quality swimming advisories Thursday for two soundside sites in Carteret and Dare counties.
Advisories were posted June 28 at the Colington Harbour swim beach at the end of Colington Drive in Kill Devil Hills, and June 30 at the public access into Taylors Creek at the Lennoxville Boat Ramp in Beaufort.
Tests show bacteria levels have dropped below the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play at both sites. Signs advising against swimming, skiing or coming into contact with the water have been removed.
The Dare County site 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, officials said. Subsequent testing of water samples collected at this site found that bacteria levels have fallen below this standard.
Test results of water samples at the Carteret County site taken June 29 showed bacteria levels exceeding 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water, the standard for recreational use coastal waters, officials said. Test results of water samples from the site now show bacteria levels below the state and federal recreational water quality standards.
“Coastal recreational waters in North Carolina are generally clean. However, it is important to continue monitoring them and to inform of any localized problems,” officials said.
The bacteria group used for testing, Enterococci, 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.
The North Carolina Recreational Water Quality Program samples 215 sites in coastal waters of the state, most of them on a weekly basis from April through October. For more information on the program or to a view a map of testing sites, visit the program’s website, and follow the program’s Twitter feed.