WASHINGTON [June 2, 2023] — After last weekend’s rain, three sampled sites in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watershed failed to meet recreational water-quality standards this week.
In the Neuse, River Bend kayak launch on the Trent River and Slocum Creek boating access in Havelock failed, as did Washington’s Havens Gardens on the Tar-Pamlico River.
“The amount of time between the heavy rain last weekend and Thursday, when we did our water sampling, gave our waterways time to clear out all that stormwater runoff,” said Clay Barber, Sound Rivers’ Program Director. “Some areas might have received more rain, which could impact how much pollution ends up in creeks and rivers and account for the two ‘fails’ we had this week.”
A “fail” means elevated levels of fecal bacteria, which can come with increased risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin infections for pets and humans alike.
Swim Guide is an international water-quality program conducted locally by Sound Rivers, an environmental nonprofit based in Raleigh, New Bern and Washington with a mission to keep North Carolina’s waterways fishable, swimmable and drinkable.
Each week, a team of Sound Rivers’ volunteers gathers water samples at 54 popular recreation sites from the Piedmont to the Pamlico Sound. Sound Rivers’ staff test samples for E. coli in fresh water and enterococci in salt water and pass/fail results are released to the public, providing an easy way to find out where it’s safe to swim.
Seventeen sites are tested each week in the Lower Neuse River basin: Oak Bluff Road and Highway 11 boat ramp near Kinston; Core Creek Landing at Fort Barnwell; Cowpen Landing and Spring Garden boat ramps; Glenburnie Park, Town of Bridgeton Park, Black Beard Sailing Club on upper Broad Creek, Lawson Creek Park, River Bend kayak launch, Trent Woods and Brice’s Creek — all in or near New Bern; the East Street boat ramp in Pollocksville; Slocum Creek boat ramp in Havelock; Rice Creek off the Bay River; and the Midyette Street boat ramp and Sea Harbour Yacht Club at Pierce Creek in Oriental.
Twenty-three sites are tested each week in the Tar-Pamlico River basin: five recreational sites at Lake Royale, near Louisburg; Tar River Reservoir and Battle Park in Rocky Mount; the River Road boat access near Tarboro; Town Common, Wildwood Park and Port Terminal in Greenville; Yankee Hall at Pactolus; the downtown waterfront, Mason’s Landing and Havens Gardens boat ramp in Washington; Chocowinity Bay at Cypress Landing; Broad Creek at Pamlico Plantation; Blounts Bay and Blounts Creek at Cotton Patch Landing; Dinah’s Landing at Goose Creek State Park; Bonner Point and Plum Point on Bath Creek. This week, data was unavailable for one site: Pungo River at Wright’s Creek, near Belhaven.
Sound Rivers’ Swim Guide program is sponsored by the Water-Quality Fund in memory of Gene Pate, Grady-White Boats, Public Radio East, Cummins, UNC Lenoir Health Care, the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, UNC Pavel Molchanov Scholars, ECU SECU Public Fellows Internship Foundation, City of Greenville,
Lake Royale Property Owners Association, Melinda Vann and David Silberstein, and Wendy and Tim Wilson. To sign up for Swim Guide notifications, go to www.soundrivers.org/swimguide or text “SWIM” to 33222 for weekly water-quality text updates. For more information about Sound Rivers, visit soundrivers.org.