RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A group that monitors river quality in North Carolina says four sites are unsafe for swimming due to high levels of fecal bacteria.

The group, Sound Rivers, monitors over 50 areas in the Tar-Pamlico and Upper Neuse watersheds. Each week, a team of volunteers from the group gathers water samples from popular recreation sites from the Raleigh-Durham area to the Pamlico Sound.

The samples are tested for the bacteria E. coli. The results were released to the public Friday.

This week, Buffaloe Road canoe launch, Smithfield Town Commons and the Riverwalk and Neuse Golf Club in Clayton tested positive for fecal bacteria.

The numbers exceeded the recommended state and federal standards for recreation, according to Sound Rivers.

“What that means is you don’t want prolonged contact — it’s a good idea to keep your eyes, ears, nose and mouth out of the water at those sites,” said Clay Barber, Sound Rivers’ Environmental Project Director.

Boaters, swimmers and their pets should avoid the water or practice caution at these sites, as exposure may come with an increased risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin infections.

Every week, the group tests 54 sites from the Raleigh/Durham area to the Pamlico Sound.