Release from state officials:
State recreational water quality officials today posted an advisory against swimming at one of two ocean-side swimming sites in Onslow County for which swimming alerts were issued yesterday. The swimming alert has been lifted for the second site.
The advisory was issued for the public beach access just north of mile marker 14 at Myrtle Drive in North Topsail Beach where test results indicate a running monthly average that exceeds the state and federal standard of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters, based on five samples taken within a 30-day period. A sign will be placed at this location advising against swimming, skiing or otherwise coming into contact with the water.
The alert that was lifted was for the regional public access at mile marker 17 on New River Inlet Road in North Topsail Beach. Water samples taken on Tuesday showed the site had exceeded the single-sample maximum standard of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water for a Tier 1 high-usage site. Subsequent testing on Wednesday showed the bacteria level at less than 10 enterococci per 100 milliliters.
Enterococcus, the organism used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it does not cause illness itself, scientific studies indicate that its presence is closely correlated to 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.
Coastal recreational waters in North Carolina are generally clean. However, it is important to continue monitoring them, so the public can be informed of any localized problems. The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program samples 240 sites in coastal waters of the state, most of them on a weekly basis from April through October.
For more information on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program, visit its website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality or on Twitter.com @ncrecp.
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