DARE COUNTY, N.C. – Officials in Dare County have lifted a swimming advisory issued May 1 for an area at a public beach 200 yards northwest of mile marker 12.5 in Nags Head.
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.
According to a release to News 3 on May 1, state recreational water quality officials found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.
A running monthly average of 36 entercocci per 100 milliliters of water was found in samples taken by officials. The number of entercocci per 100 milliliters of water exceeds the state and federal standards of a running monthly average of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters, based on five samples taken within a 30-day period.
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.
209 sites are sampled along North Carolina’s coastal waters by recreational water quality officials. Most are tested on a weekly basis from April to October, with less testing done through the rest of the year.
For more information on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program, visit the program’s website here.