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State officials advise against swimming in Brunswick County waters impacted by Hurricane Isaias

MOREHEAD CITY – State recreational water quality officials are advising the public to avoid swimming in both ocean and sound-side waters in Brunswick County affected by Hurricane Isaias.

 

“Severe weather events like hurricanes bring excessive amounts of rain, storm surge and cause extreme flooding. These conditions increase levels of harmful bacteria in our coastal waters that can cause illness,” said Erin Bryan-Millush, manager of the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program. “The sources of bacteria can vary and include failing septic systems, sewer line breaks, overflowing manholes and wildlife.”

 

While state officials do not have immediate laboratory confirmation that disease-causing organisms are in the water, storm impacts increase the chance that contamination is present thus increasing the risk of adverse health effects from swimming in these waters.

 

Residents and visitors should avoid swimming in these waters until bacteriological testing indicates sample results within state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. Testing will begin as soon as conditions are safe to do so and areas are accessible. The advisory will be lifted in part or in whole as test results become available.

 

Because impacted waters are widespread in Brunswick County, signs will not be posted.

 

State recreational water quality officials sample 210 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 on the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program, visit the program’s website , view a map of the testing sites, and follow the program’s Twitter feed.

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