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Water quality swimming advisory lifted for Oak Island site (June 6)

From N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, MOREHEAD CITY – State recreational water quality officials today lifted a water quality swimming advisory for an ocean-side swimming area in Brunswick County.

The advisory was lifted because water testing shows that bacteria levels have dropped below the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.

The advisory was posted at the Middleton public access off East Beach Drive in Oak Island on June 5. Test results showed the site had exceeded 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water, the standard for high usage sites. The site now shows bacteria levels below the state and federal recreational water quality standards.

The sign advising against swimming, skiing or otherwise coming into contact with the water has 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 the public can be informed 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 the program’s website, view a map of the testing sites, and follow the program’s Twitter feed.