Swimming alert issued for portion of Pender County sound-side

(Photo: MGN Online)

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — State regulators have issued swimming alert for a portion of the sound in Pender County.

According to a news release from the NC Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, state officials found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.

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The advisory is for the waters at the end of Shoreline Drive, public access S-1 in Topsail Beach. That’s where water a sample taken on Wednesday indicate levels that exceed the state and federal action levels of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters for Tier I high-usage sites.

Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, is found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it does not 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 action level have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.

This advisory is not a beach closing, nor does the advisory affect the entire sound-side area. Swimming advisories affect water within 200 feet of the sign.

State officials will continue testing the site, and they will remove the sign and notify the public again when the bacteria levels decrease to levels below the standards.

State officials sample 209 sites throughout the coastal region, most of them on a weekly basis from April to October. Testing continues on a reduced schedule during the rest of the year, when the waters are colder.