Beach bacteria testing along the coast

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Harmful bacteria in the water on our own Crystal Coast.

It’s something nobody wants to think about on their summer vacation, but it could still be there.

That’s why the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries conducts tests to make sure the water is safe to get in.

The main type of bacteria the agency finds during tests is the enterococcus bacteria.

It comes from different sources, and it could make you sick.

“It can come from any known source, or unknown source so it could be human, or domestic, or wildlife. If you’re at a beach that’s highly crowded the risk is greater because we are a source,” said Erin Bryan-Mullish of the Division of Marine Fisheries.

The Division of Marine Fisheries says the main way the bacteria gets into the ocean or sound water is through stormwater runoff.

The group tests around 209 different swimming sights in North Carolina every week.

“Most often times, the problems are 24-hour issues. Bacteria don’t survive long especially in salty water. It’s usually a short-lived 24-hour problem,” said Bryan-Mullish.

If the sample has high enough levels of bacteria, the Division of Marine Fisheries issues an advisory to local towns and governments and posts a sign to remind beachgoers they’re swimming at their own risk.

For updated information on beach, advisories can be found here: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/home

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