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MOREHEAD CITY, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -– State recreational water quality officials today lifted a water quality swimming advisory for sound-side swimming area in New Hanover County.

This was the first swimming advisory issued in 2012 by state recreational water quality officials.

The advisory was lifted because water testing shows that bacteria levels have dropped below the state and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.

The advisory was posted at the public beach access leading to Banks Channel off Waynick Boulevard between Taylor and Bellamy Streets in Wrightsville Beach on April 3. Test results showed the site had exceeded 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water for high usage sites. The site now shows bacteria levels below the state and federal recreational water quality standards.

The sign advising against swimming, skiing or otherwise coming into contact with the water has been removed.

Enterococci, the name for the group of bacteria used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While the bacteria group’s presence does not cause illness itself, scientific studies indicate that the presence of enterococci is closely correlated to the presence of other organisms that may cause illness. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness.

Coastal recreational waters in North Carolina are generally clean. However, it is important to continue monitoring them, so the public can be informed of any localized problems. The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program samples 240 sampling sites in coastal waters of the state, most of them on a weekly basis from April through October.

For more information about the program, visit its website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality or on Twitter.com @ncrecprgm.

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