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Water quality swimming alerts lifted for ocean-side sites in Oak Island

MOREHEAD CITY – State recreational water quality officials today lifted water quality swimming alerts at three ocean-side sites in Brunswick County along Oak Island.
Subsequent sampling of these sites show that bacteria levels have dropped below the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.
The alerts were for the following waters in Oak Island:
  • Southeast 58th Street and East Beach Drive
  • Ocean Drive and Keziah Street
  • Lighthouse Park off Caswell Beach Road
Tests of water samples taken on Oct. 9, showed bacteria levels at these sites exceeded the single-sample maximum standard of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water for a Tier 1 high-usage site. Subsequent testing of water samples collected Oct 10 showed the bacteria levels within the state and Environmental Protection Agency’s swimming standard.
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 its website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality or on Twitter.com @ncrecprgm.