WASHINGTON, N.C. — Last month, Sound Rivers expanded its water-quality testing to year-round, and the November results have come in.
“Everything passed on the Neuse this latest round of testing,” said Jill Howell, Sound Rivers’ Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper. “It was the Tar-Pamlico that had a few sites fail.”
Port Terminal in Greenville and Havens Gardens in Washington failed the recreational water-quality standards set by the EPA.
This scaled-down version of the popular recreational water-quality program, Swim Guide, will provide monthly results for 13 sites tested across the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watersheds until Memorial Day 2023, when the summer program starts. Sound Rivers tests more than 50 sites are tested from Memorial Day to Labor Day, then lets the public know where it’s safe to swim.
“We know that recreation in our waterways is not limited to the summer months, so we wanted to provide water-quality information all year round,” said Howell said.
Sites are monitored for E. coli bacteria in freshwater and enterococci bacteria in brackish or salt water, both of which can cause an increased risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin infections in both humans and their pets. Sites are given a pass/fail designation based on federal and state water-quality standards.
In the Neuse River watershed, samples are being tested from public-access points at Falls Lake and Buffaloe Road in Raleigh, the Riverwalk in Clayton, the bridge at N.C. Highway 11 in Kinston, Lawson Creek and Glenburnie parks in New Bern and off Midyette Street in Oriental.
In the Tar-Pamlico watershed, samples are being tested from Port Terminal, Town Common and Wildwood Park in Greenville, Havens Gardens and Dinah’s Landing in or near Washington and Cotton Patch Landing on Blounts Creek.
The next date results will be released is Dec. 15. They can be found at soundrivers.org/swimguide. To sign up for Swim Guide text alerts, text “SWIM” to 33222 to have results delivered weekly. For results in Spanish, text “NADAR” to 33222.
Based in Raleigh, New Bern and Washington, Sound Rivers has worked for more than 40 years to protect the health of the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico rivers and the communities that rely on them. The two watersheds cover nearly a quarter of North Carolina.
Sound Rivers’ Swim Guide program is sponsored by Grady-White Boats and The Greenville Rotary Club. For more information, visit soundrivers.org.