Bacteria levels along Cape Hatteras National Seashore meet state and federal standards

[Courtesy Cape Hatteras National Seashore]

State recreational water quality officials notified the public on Tuesday that testing of ocean waters along parts of Cape Hatteras National Seashore showed bacteria levels that meet state and federal standards for swimming and water play.

Test results of ocean water samples collected on May 16 in areas of Rodanthe and Buxton showed bacteria levels well below the single sample standard of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water. Bacteria levels in all the samples were less than 10 Enterococci per 100 milliliters of water. Enterococci is the name for the group of bacteria used for testing.

The public should keep abreast of any notifications from local governments or the National Park Service pertaining to debris in the water before entering the water or accessing the beach.

State officials issued a news release on May 11 advising the public to be aware of potential pollution from possible septic system failures in ocean swimming waters where extreme high tides had inundated septic systems at homes in areas of Rodanthe and Buxton. Swimming in water contaminated by untreated wastewater can cause adverse health effects such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and skin infections.Recreational water quality officials sample 215 sites throughout North Carolina’s 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 waters are colder.

For more information on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program or to a view a map of testing sites, visit the program’s website, and follow the program’s Twitter feed.