State recreational water quality officials on Wednesday lifted water quality swimming alerts at four sound-side sites in Wrightsville Beach that were issued on Tuesday after several days of heavy rain.
Subsequent sampling of these sites show that bacteria levels have dropped below the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.
The alerts were for waters in Banks Channel off Waynick Boulevard in Wrightsville Beach at the following public access sites:
- Between Snyder and Seashore streets
- Between Taylor and Bellamy streets
- Approximately 150 yards north of Iula Street
- At the corner of Waynick Boulevard and Sunset Avenue
Tests of water samples taken on July 30, showed bacteria levels at the sites had exceeded the single-sample maximum standard of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water for a Tier 1 high-usage sites. Subsequent testing on July 31 showed bacteria levels well within the state and EPA standard.
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.
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 209 sites in coastal waters of the state, most of them on a weekly basis from April through October.