State: Tests of local waters continue to show high bacteria levels

The continued poor water quality tests of the Croatan Sound forced the Outer Banks Triathlon to eliminate the swimming portion for 2019. [Jody O’Donnell photo]

State officials continue to advise against swimming in area waters, both on the ocean and soundside from the state line to Ocracoke, due to high bacteria levels.

The precautionary advisory against swimming remains in effect for all ocean and sound-side sites in Hyde, Dare, and Currituck counties, according to a press release from the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program.

“Early results of tests completed so far show levels of bacteria that exceed the state and Environmental Protection Agency standards for swimming and other contact with the water,” the program announced Friday.

Snap shot of water quality alerts on Sept. 16, 2019. [NCDEQ image]

Residents and visitors, including fishermen, who cannot avoid contacting those waters should exercise caution, limit wound exposure, and thoroughly wash their hands.

State officials will continue to test the waters at swimming sites in Hyde, Dare and Currituck counties and notify the public when test results show bacteria levels meet the state and Environmental Protection Agency standards.

The precautionary advisory was issued Sept. 3 as Hurricane Dorian approached the North Carolina coast because excessive rains and flooding can cause high levels of bacteria in the water that can make people sick. Floodwaters and storm water runoff can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, pet waste, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals.

Recreational water quality officials sample 209 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 waters are colder.

For more information about coastal recreational water quality, visit the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program’s website at: or on @ncrecprgm

This story originally appeared on Read More local stories here.

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