MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – Water quality testing at a sound-sound site in Beaufort County are showing levels of bacteria exceeding the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality swimming standards.
State recreational water quality officials issued the alert for waters at the Ragged Point swim area in the Pamlico River near Washington. Samples were collected Monday showing the bacteria known as enterococci, exceeding the state and federal single-sample standard for the swimming area.
The site was retested on Tuesday. If the new samples also show elevated bacteria counts, state officials will post a swimming advisory sign and issue a swimming advisory. The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program tests water quality at ocean and sound beaches in accordance with federal and state laws.
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.