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Water quality swimming advisories lifted for four sound-side sites in New Hanover County

State recreational water quality officials today lifted four water quality swimming advisories at sound-side sites in New Hanover County. 

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 advisories affected 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
  • Just south of the Coast Guard Station

Water samples taken on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 indicated bacteria levels that exceeded the running monthly average of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters, based on five samples taken within a 30-day period. Subsequent testing of water samples collected at these sites found that bacteria levels have fallen below this standard. The signs advising against swimming, skiing or otherwise coming into contact with the water have been removed. 

The advisory issued for the public sound-side access at the corner of Waynick Boulevard and Sunset Avenue remains in effect. State officials will continue to test this area and notify the public when bacteria levels fall below 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 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 inform the public of any localized problems. The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program samples 213 sites in coastal waters of the state, most of them on a weekly basis from April through October. 

For more information on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program or to a view a map of testing sites, visit the program’s website, and follow the program’s Twitter feed.