No swimming in three areas
Runoff, overloaded septic systems likely culprits
An advisory against swimming has been posted at three sites in Pamlico County, where state officials found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.
The advisories affect swimming areas off Janeiro Road. They are located at the public access on the southside of Dawson Creek Bridge in Dawson Creek; public access 500 yards north of Dawson Creek Bridge in Dawson Creek; and the public access in the Neuse River just west of Gatlin Creek. Test results taken yesterday indicate levels that exceed the state and federal action levels of 276 enterococci per 100 milliliters for Tier 2 low usage sites. Swimming areas are classified based on recreational use and are referred to as tiers.
The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program tests water quality at ocean and sound beaches in accordance with federal and state laws. Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, is found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals.
While it does not 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 action level have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.
These advisories are not a beach closing, nor do they affect the entire Dawson Creek and Neuse River areas. Swimming advisories affect water within 200 feet of the sign. The signs posted read as follows:
SWIMMING IN THIS AREA IS NOT RECOMMENDED. BACTERIA TESTING INDICATES
LEVELS OF CONTAMINATION THAT MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH. THIS ADVISORY AFFECTS WATERS WITHIN 200’ OF THIS SIGN.
OFFICE OF THE STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR
State officials will continue testing the sites, and they will remove the signs and notify the public again when the bacteria levels decrease to levels below the standards.
State recreational water quality officials sample 204 sites throughout the 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 the waters are colder.