MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has issued a swimming advisory for the Bogue Sound public water access on Sunset Drive in Morehead City Tuesday.
An advisory against swimming was posted at the site, where state recreational water quality officials found bacteria levels in the water that exceed the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality standards.
Test results of water samples indicate a running monthly average of 42 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water. This exceeds the standards of a running monthly average of 35 enterococci per 100 milliliters, based on five samples taken within a 30-day period.
Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it is not known to cause illness, scientific studies show enterococci may indicate 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 or skin infections.
The advisory is not a beach closing, nor does it affect the entire Morehead City area. Swimming advisories are for waters within 200 feet of the sign.
State officials will continue testing the site and remove the sign when the bacteria levels decrease to below the standards.
Recreational water quality officials sample 213 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 fewer people are in the water.