DEQ warns of beach pollution after coastal storm

HWY 12
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 3:13 PM EDT
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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WITN) - The state Department of Environmental Quality says North Carolinians should be aware of pollution from possible septic system failures due to extremely high tides.

The affected areas would be along part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and the DEQ says the public should avoid swimming in waters near exposed pipes, specifically these areas:

  • Rodanthe - ocean waters near Beacon Road, along GA Kohler Court and near Ocean Drive
  • Buxton - ocean waters along Tower Circle

The Outer Banks is experiencing high tides caused by a low-pressure system that may have flooded septic drain fields or caused sewage line breaks at homes.

The DEQ says state officials do not have laboratory confirmation that disease-causing organisms are in the water. However, they say there is an increased chance contamination is there.

“Wastewater exposure can cause adverse health effects such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and skin infections, the public is advised to avoid bodily contact with these waters,” a DEQ spokesman said.

The department says testing will begin as soon as the area is accessible.

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