BUXTON, N.C. (WNCN) – State recreational water quality officials are warning people to stay away from two portions of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Potential pollution from possible septic system failures and high tides are to blame.

The Outer Banks is seeing extreme high tides caused by a low pressure system. Officials are concerned tides may have inundated septic system drain fields or caused sewage line breaks at homes in certain areas.

People should avoid swimming in waters near exposed pipe, and should be particularly cautious in these areas:

  • Rodanthe – ocean waters near Beacon Road, along GA Kohler Court, and near Ocean Drive.
  • Buxton – ocean waters along Tower Circle.  

So far there is no laboratory confirmation that disease-causing organisms are in the water. However, there is an increased chance that contamination is present in these Rodanthe and Buxton areas, officials said.

People swimming in those areas have an increased chance of adverse health effects. Those symptoms may include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and skin infections, officials said.

Residents and visitors should avoid swimming in these waters until tidal conditions subside and bacteriological testing indicates sample results within state and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. Testing will begin as soon as the area is accessible, and the public will be notified by press release as test results become available, officials said.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials say people should avoid swimming in the area until tidal conditions subside and testing can be done to ensure the waters are safe. Testing can begin when the area is accessible, but an official date has not yet been set.