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Swimming advisory issued for Outer Banks beaches

State officials are advising beach-goers to stay out of coastal waters in Dare and Currituck counties due to high rainfall and flooding from recent storms.

Heavy rains have caused flooding of streets, yards and housing that resulted in the Town of Kitty Hawk pumping floodwater into the ocean as of today, additional towns and communities from Nags Head to Corolla are also pumping floodwaters to the ocean.

“Waters impacted by these storms can contain elevated levels of bacteria that can make people sick,” said J.D. Potts, manager of the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program. “Floodwaters and stormwater runoff can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals.”

Since the impacts are likely widespread, it is not possible to post signs in all areas. The public should avoid swimming in coastal waters in and around Dare and Currituck counties until bacteriological testing indicates bacteria levels fall within the state’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards.

State officials will begin resampling these locations when roads are passable and 24 hours after stormwater pumping has ceased.

This precautionary advisory will be lifted in part or in whole as test results become available.

State 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 the waters are colder.

For more information about coastal recreational water quality, visit the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program’s website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality or on Twitter.com @ncrecprgm.

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