State environmental officials lift ocean swimming advisory for New Hanover County waters; coastal rivers and sounds advisory remains

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State environmental officials have lifted a precautionary swimming advisory for ocean waters in New Hanover County, including Wrightsville Beach. The swimming advisory for coastal rivers and sounds, including Banks Channel and the Intracoastal Waterway, remains in effect.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Recreational Water Quality Program announced Saturday that it tested waters samples at ocean swimming sites from Fort Fisher State Park through Wrightsville Beach and found that bacteria levels do not exceed state and Environmental Protection Agency standards for swimming and other contact with the water.

A swimming alert remains in effect for coastal rivers and sounds south of Ocracoke Island, ocean waters in Brunswick County, and the public beach access just west of the junction of Coast Guard Road and Inlet Drive in Emerald Isle. Residents and visitors, including fishermen, who cannot avoid contacting these waters should exercise caution, limit wound exposure, and thoroughly wash their hands.

Excessive rains and flooding can cause high levels of bacteria in the water that can make people sick. Floodwaters and storm water runoff can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, pet waste, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals.

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