State recreational water quality officials on Tuesday lifted water quality swimming advisories at two Bogue Sound sites in Morehead City.
The advisories were lifted because water testing showed that bacteria levels were below the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.
The first advisory was posted July 7 at the public access at 16th Street, and the second was posted July 25 at the public access Sunset Drive. Officials said these areas 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.
Subsequent testing of water samples collected at these sites found that bacteria levels had fallen below the standard. The signs advising against swimming, skiing or otherwise coming into contact with the water were removed.
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, officials said, noting, however, that it is important to continue monitoring them and inform the public of any localized problems.
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.