Recreational water quality officials have advised against swimming at another public access on Bogue Sound in Morehead City.
The advisory was posted Tuesday at the soundside Sunset Drive public access because bacteria levels in the water exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards. There is an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections from swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards.
Test results of water samples at the Sunset Beach public access indicate a running monthly average of 44 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water, which exceed 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.
Officials remind the public that the advisory issued July 7 for the public access to Bogue Sound at 16th Street in Morehead City remains in effect. Swimming advisories, which are not closings, are for waters within 200 feet of the sign.
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.
State officials will continue testing these areas, and they will 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.
For more information on the state’s Recreational Water Quality Program or to a view a map of testing sites, visit the program’s website, and follow the program feed on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter.