Environmentalists warn about E. coli levels at the Neuse River

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With temperatures expected to climb this weekend, many around the Triangle will be beating the heat by the water. Friday, officials with the group Sound Rivers are putting out a warning if you plan on heading out to the Neuse River this weekend. 

They’re asking you to avoid and be cautious near the Buffaloe Road Canoe Launch after the area tested positive for fecal bacteria E. coli. 

Officials with Sound Rivers said this is the second week in a row the site has tested positive for high levels of the bacteria. 

For the Sandine family, who live near the site, they won’t be heading to their usual spot to try and cool off this weekend. 

“They [my children] go fishing probably two or three times a week, so it’s definitely alarming,” Jared Sandine said. 

Laurel Holloman and others with Sound Rivers test at the canoe launch and other spots along the Neuse River. 

“I grew up around here,” Holloman said. “I grew up tubing and using the Neuse River. So, it is concerning to me when we find results like this.”
She believes it’s important to get the word out, as many people plan to be out near the water. 

“With more rain coming, that would just create more stormwater runoff, which could contribute to even higher levels of E. coli,” she said. 
According to Sound Rivers, there’s also a higher risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin infections. 

“If people have an open cut, skin irritation is also a possibility,” Holloman said. “If small children are swimming, they have a tendency to accidentally swallow water. That would be our main concerns.” 

Raleigh resident Jeffrey Hall prefers riding his bike on the trail, and staying out of the water. He’s concerned for others this weekend. 

“A lot of the parents will bring their smaller kids out here, and I’m sure that it’s going to effect everybody,” Hall said. “Try to stay cool, but do it somewhere else. Not in the water over here.”

Holloman said they’ll be out next week to do more testing. They hope to do more sampling and try and figure out the cause of all of this.

In the meantime, Sound Rivers recommends if you do plan on coming to the Neuse River this weekend to find another spot upstream. 

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