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MOREHEAD CITY, NC (WWAY) -– The state Division of Environmental Health today lifted a water quality swimming alert at an ocean-side site in Brunswick County.

Subsequent sampling of the site shows that bacteria levels have dropped below the state and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play.

The alert affected waters at the public beach access located at the east end of Holden Beach. Test results taken on May 11 showed the site had exceeded the single-sample maximum standard for this site of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water for high usage sites. Subsequent testing of the site indicated bacteria levels that fall below the state and federal recreational water quality standards. The bacteria level from the May 12 test was less than 10 enterococci per 100 milliliters.

Enterococcus, the organism used for testing, is found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it does not cause illness itself, scientific studies indicate that its presence is closely correlated to 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.

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 on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program, visit its website at: http://www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/shellfish/Water_Monitoring/RWQweb/index.htm or on Twitter.com @ncrecprgm.


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