RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A group that monitors river quality in North Carolina says six sites failed the Swim Guide test– five of which were “off the charts.”

Sound Rivers monitors several areas in the Tar-Pamlico and Upper Neuse watersheds.

This week on the Upper Neuse River, Buffaloe Road, Milburnie, Anderson Point, Poole Road, Clayton River Walk and Neuse Golf Club failed the fecal bacteria test.

According to the Swim Guide, every location except for Neuse Golf Club measured greater than 2,419.6 MPN (most probable number), the highest amount possible. The EPA’s water quality standard is 235 MPN.

“Use extreme caution from Buffaloe Road all the way down to Clayton River Walk, because the river has high turbidity and a lot of E. coli,” said Clay Barber, Sound Rivers’ program director. “And that is due to heavy rain and heavy development.”

Boaters, swimmers and their pets should avoid these areas and practice caution. Exposure to the water may come with an increased risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin infections.

Each week, volunteers collect water samples at 54 recreation sites from the Raleigh-Durham area to the Pamlico Sound and test each sample for E. coli.