Swimming restrictions lifted at two sites in Kill Devil Hills

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018

State recreational water quality officials today lifted two water quality swimming advisories at ocean-side sites in Dare County.

The advisories were lifted because water testing shows bacteria levels have dropped to within the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.

One of the advisories was posted July 25 at the public beach access at East Blackman Street in Nags Head and the other was issued Aug. 1 at the public beach access at Ocean Bay Boulevard in Kill Devil Hills. Both sites showed a monthly average of the bacteria enterococci above the EPA-mandated level of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water, the standard for high-use sites. Subsequent testing at these sites found that bacteria levels now meet the standard. The signs advising against swimming, skiing or otherwise coming into contact with the water have been removed.

Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it is not known to cause illness, scientific studies indicate that enterococci may indicate 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 or skin infections.

Coastal recreational waters in North Carolina are generally clean. However, it is important to continue monitoring them, so we can inform the public of any localized problems. The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program samples 209 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 @ncrecprgm.