Precautionary swimming advisory lifted for ocean and sound waters, with exception of a few areas in Dare County

The precautionary advisory against swimming issued due to Hurricane Ian is now lifted for coastal waters, except for one sound-side and one ocean-side site in Dare County.

State officials have lifted the precautionary advisory for ocean and sound-side recreational swimming sites in Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender, Onslow, Carteret, and Hyde counties. Test results of water samples taken from these waters show bacterial levels that meet the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s safe swimming standards.

The precautionary advisory against swimming remains in effect for the estuarine rivers in Pamlico, Craven and Beaufort Counties. Recreational water quality officials are still in the process of collecting samples and will lift the precautionary advisory when samples collected meet the state’s and EPA’s safe swimming standards.

Additionally, the swimming advisory issued at Colington Harbour swim beach at the end of Colington Drive in Kill Devil Hills on Sept. 27 has been lifted. Water testing shows bacteria levels have dropped below safe swimming standards for this area.

However, the following status applies to specific areas in Dare County:

  • An advisory sign was posted today at the public beach access just north of East Soundside Road in Nags Head, Test results of water samples from this site show a running monthly average that exceeds the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for swimming and other water contact. State officials will continue testing the site and will remove the signs and notify the public when the bacteria levels decrease to levels below the standard.
  • A swimming advisory issued on July 20 at Jockey’s Ridge sound-side access remains in effect.
  • Three additional areas in Dare County remain under observation and under a pending swimming advisory. These areas are:
    • Sandy Bay sound-side access in Frisco;
    • Salvo day use sound-side access across from ramp #23 in Salvo; and
    • Ocean access at north end of Seagull Street in Rodanthe.

State officials will test these sites again today, and the results of the sampling will dictate further action. If the new samples also show elevated bacteria counts, state officials will post a swimming advisory sign and issue a swimming advisory.

The precautionary advisory was issued Sept. 30 as Hurricane Ian approached the Carolina’s, because excessive rains and flooding can cause high levels of bacteria in the water that can make people sick. Floodwaters and storm water runoff can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, pet waste, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals.

Coastal recreational waters in North Carolina are generally clean. However, it is important to continue monitoring them and inform the public of any localized problems. The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program samples 215 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 or to a view a map of testing sites, visit the program’s website, and follow the program’s Twitter feed.