State recreational water quality officials today lifted a water quality swimming advisory for an ocean-side swimming area in Dare County.
The advisory was lifted because water testing shows that bacteria levels have dropped below the state and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.
The advisory was posted at the public beach access near the bathhouse at mile marker 15 off South Virginia Dare Trail in Nags Head on July 25. Test results showed the site had exceeded 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water for high usage sites.
The site now shows 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.
One additional advisory still remains in effect in Kill Devil Hills and is located at the bathhouse off Ocean Bay Boulevard. State officials will continue testing this site and will remove the sign and notify the public when the bacteria levels decrease to concentrations below the standards.
Enterococci, the name for the group of bacteria used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals.
While the bacteria group’s presence does not cause illness itself, scientific studies indicate that the presence of enterococci is closely correlated to the presence of other organisms that may cause illness.
People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness.
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 240 sampling sites in coastal waters of the state, most of them on a weekly basis from April through October.