State recreational water quality officials today lifted a water quality swimming advisory for a sound-side swimming area in Dare 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 Sandy Bay sound-side access near Frisco along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore on May 3. Test results of water samples taken May 1 and May 2 showed bacteria levels exceeding 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water, the standard for recreational use coastal waters. Test results of water samples from the site now show 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, is found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it is not known to cause illness, scientific studies show 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 and to 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.