Water quality tests found E. Coli bacteria in ENC rivers after Hurricane Dorian


BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) – Water quality bacteria levels in Eastern North Carolina raised concern among environmental specialists following Hurricane Dorian.

Take a look at this photo from the non-profit, Sound Rivers:

Sound Rivers

This sample on the left side was taken before the hurricane and the blue-lit up samples on the photo on the right indicate bacteria found in the water after the storm. 

The bacteria, E.Coli, was found in every water sample location Sound Rivers collected. 

They tested waters along the Pamlico River in Washington, Port Terminal and Town Common in Greenville and Mason’s Landing at Tranter’s Creek.

They also collected samples from the Tributary at Chicod Creek in Grimesland. 

Staff with Sound Rivers say high levels of E.coli are dangerous to your health and could potentially make you sick

“Right after the hurricane we sort of expected to see, even though there weren’t necessarily a lot of impacts from floodwaters, an excessive runoff got into the rivers and we expected to see high bacteria levels,” said Jillian Howell, Pamlico-Tar River Keeper. “After a hurricane, it’s an indicator of potential runoff of some of these hog facilities or failing septic systems or sewerage treatment plants.” 

The Department of Environmental Quality also collected water samples of their own after Dorian. They initially placed advisories along coastal waters and on the Pamlico-Tar and Neuse rivers. 

DEQ lifted those advisories on Friday, Aug. 13.

Staff from Sound Rivers say as of Wed. Aug 11, those initial bacteria levels have decreased significantly in most of their testing locations.

The only location that failed to meet federal and state levels was the Tributary at Chicod Creek.

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