Report: Nearly 60% of NC beaches had unsafe bacteria levels for at least 1 day in 2018

North Carolina news

Looking west at the Ocean Crest Fishing Pier in Oak Island (Photo: Michael Au)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Two sites in our area were among the top 10 in the state for the most potentially unsafe swimming days in 2018, according to a new study.

Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group released its study Safe for Swimming? Water Quality at Our Beaches this week.

The study found that more than 2,600 of the 4,523 beaches tested in the U.S. demonstrated unsafe bacteria levels on at least one day in 2018.

The causes of the water pollution included runoff from cities, sewage overflow and failing septic systems in addition to concentrated livestock manure, according to the report.

The report warns that sewage and fecal contamination in swimming areas can cause swimmers to develop gastrointestinal illness, respiratory disease, infections and skin rashes.

In North Carolina, 127 of 213 sites sampled were potentially unsafe for at least one day last year.

A sampling site by the intersection of E. Main St. and Tooley St. in Belhaven in Beaufort County was potentially unsafe for 11 days, more than any other site in N.C.

The study listed a site in Pender County and another in Brunswick County among the top 10 in the state with the most potentially unsafe swimming days last year.

The public access at the end of Shore Line Drive in Pender County was listed as having seven potentially unsafe days while a site on the Intracoastal Waterway near marker #67 near Sailfish Street in Holden Beach had six.

The full study can be found here.

Copyright 2019 WECT. All rights reserved.

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