Swim Guide water quality results available for ENC recreational spots

Published: May. 27, 2022 at 7:04 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) - Popular swimming spots in Eastern Carolina look welcoming on hot summer days, but what lies beneath the surface can sometimes be concerning on busy holiday weekends.

Liane Harsh, the owner of Inner Banks Outfitters in Washington, expects to be swarmed by customers in the coming days.

“Every Memorial Day weekend we anticipate and look forward to it being super busy,” Harsh said. We got our first paddleboard class on Saturday. We’re ready to rock and roll.”

Whether you’re headed to the beach, river, or lake it’s important to check the water quality before you begin your festivities. On Friday, the environmental nonprofit ‘Sound Rivers’ launched its Swim Guide for the fifth year in a row. It’s a guide that lets you know where it’s safe to swim from the Raleigh-Durham area, all the way to Pamlico Sound.

Jillian Howell is the Pamlico/Tar-River Keeper and says the the nonprofit has conducted more than 1,000 water samples in Eastern North Carolina.

“We want people out on the water but there are instances where bacteria can cause sickness in people,” Howell said. “We’re measuring E-Coli bacteria and if you accidentally swallow some water with high levels of E.coli or if you have an open cut or things or swim in high levels of E-Coli, you can get infections in your cuts or eye infections or just have gastrointestinal illness.”

Swim Guide covers 54 sites in Eastern Carolina and Sound River sends out text alerts regarding water conditions every Friday until the end Summer. You can sign up for alerts on their website.

The first report out Friday gave the all clear for all waterways tested.

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