MOREHEAD CITY – State recreational water quality officials on Wednesday lifted a water quality swimming advisory for a soundside swimming area near Otway in Carteret County.
Officials announced that the advisory was lifted because water testing showed that bacteria levels had dropped below the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.
The advisory was posted July 7 at the public swimming area at the west end of North River Bridge off U.S. 70. Test results of water samples taken July 5 and July 6 showed bacteria levels exceeding 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water, the standard for recreational use coastal waters. Test results of water samples from the site now show bacteria levels below the state and federal recreational water quality standards.
The sign advising against swimming, skiing or otherwise coming into contact with the water has been removed, officials said.
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. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.
Coastal recreational waters in North Carolina are generally clean. However, it is important to continue monitoring them and to informed of any localized problems. The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program samples 215 sites in coastal waters of the state, most of them on a weekly basis from April through October.