Swimming Advisory Lifted For New Hanover County Beaches

Swimming Advisory Lifted For New Hanover County Beaches

Swimming Advisory Lifted For New Hanover County Beaches Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 03 October 2018 21:38

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - A precautionary advisory has been lifted for ocean swimming sites in New Hanover County. State officials made the announcement on September 29th.

Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence are draining to the ocean along the North Carolina and South Carolina coasts. In Carolina Beach, local resident Susan Foy took a picture of the surf on Sunday, September 23rd and described the brown water stating, "That's how dirty and nasty the water is. That's the color of the water!"
Terri L. Chabot described the ocean water  in Kure Beach stating, "The water looked like a root beer float last night."

Carolina Beach reported that from September 13th to the 17th the Town's  Wastewater Treatment System discharged 17.17 million gallons of treated and untreated wastewater to the Cape Fear River during Hurricane Florence.

They also had approximately 226,320 of overflows from sewer manholes and Pump Stations that entered surface waters.  Those discharges were coordinated with the State of North Carolina Division of Water Resources.

Many sewer manhole covers were bubbling with sewer water due to rain water overwhelming the capacity of the system.

On September 29th, Erin Bryan-Millush with the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) explained, "State officials announced today that bacteria levels at ocean swimming sites in New Hanover County meet state and Environmental Protection Agency standards for swimming and other contact with the water."

Bryan-Millush explained that N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Recreational Water Quality Program tested water samples representative of established ocean swimming sites from Fort Fisher State Park through Wrightsville Beach and found that bacteria levels do not exceed the standards.

Bryan-Millush said a swimming alert is still in effect for area rivers and sounds south of Ocracoke Island, ocean waters in Brunswick County, and the public beach access just west of the junction of Coast Guard Road and Inlet Drive in Emerald Isle.

Bryan-Millush explained, "Residents and visitors, including fishermen, who cannot avoid contacting these waters should exercise caution, limit wound exposure, and thoroughly wash their hands. The Recreational Water Quality Program will continue testing in these other coastal areas. Excessive rains and flooding can cause high levels of bacteria in the water that can make people sick. Floodwaters and storm water runoff can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, pet waste, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals."

Bryan-Millush explained, "While state officials do not have immediate laboratory confirmation that disease-causing organisms are in the waters, there is an increased chance that contamination is present, and those swimming have an increased chance of adverse health effects. Because waters affected by the storm are so widespread, signs are not posted."

Recreational water quality 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 waters are colder.

For more information about coastal recreational water quality, visit the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program’s website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality or on Twitter.com @ncrecprgm.


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