WASHINGTON, NC — Four sites on the Lower Neuse and one on the Tar-Pamlico failed the swim guide test this week, but recent rains could impact water quality in other locations .
“If there is heavy rain in the 24 hours between when we take our samples and when we get the results, our results may not be accurate,” said Clay Barber, program manager for Sound Rivers. “Since we know that rain increases runoff into our waterways, it is recommended that you stay out of the water within 24 hours of a significant rain event.”
Brice’s Creek, Lawson Park, Upper Broad Creek at Blackbeard Sailing Club and Slocum Creek at Havelock did not meet recreational water quality standards on the Lower Neuse; on the Tar-Pamlico, Pamlico Plantation, just east of Washington, also failed.
When sites fail, boaters, swimmers and their pets should avoid the water or exercise caution at these sites, as exposure to bacteria-laden waters comes with an increased risk of gastrointestinal illnesses. -intestinal and skin infections.
Swim Guide is an international water quality program run locally by Sound Rivers, a nonprofit environmental organization whose mission is to keep North Carolina’s waterways passable, swimmable and safe to drink. Each week, a team of Sound Rivers volunteers collects water samples at 52 popular recreation sites along the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River basins from the Raleigh-Durham area to the Pamlico Sound. The samples are then tested for E. coli bacteria by Sound Rivers staff, and the results are made public, providing an easy way to know where it is safe to swim.
The Sound Rivers sampling data provides a general guide to the health of the waterways near the samples collected and should be used for informational purposes only. This data does not guarantee that the sampled area is safe for swimming at all times. The levels of E. coli can change at any time and will generally increase after rain events.
Sixteen sites are tested each week in the Lower Neuse River Basin: Oak Bluff Road and the Highway 11 boat ramp near Kinston; the boat ramps at Cowpen Landing and Spring Garden; Glenburnie Park, Town of Bridgeton Park, Black Beard Sailing Club on Upper Broad Creek, Lawson Creek Park, River Bend kayak launch, Trent Woods and Brice’s Creek – all in or near New Bern; the East Street boat ramp in Pollocksville; Slocum Creek boat launch at Havelock; Rice Creek off the Bay River; and the Midyette Street boat launch and Sea Harbor Yacht Club at Pierce Creek in Oriental.
Twenty-two sites are tested each week in the Tar-Pamlico River Basin: five recreational sites at Lake Royale, near Louisburg; Tar River Reservoir and Battle Park at Rocky Mount; River Road boat access near Tarboro; Town Common, Wildwood Park and Port Terminal in Greenville; Yankee Hall in Pactolus; the downtown waterfront, Mason’s Landing boat launch and Havens Gardens in Washington; Chocowinity Bay at Cypress Landing; Broad Creek at Pamlico Plantation; Blounts Bay and Blounts Creek at Cotton Patch Landing; Dinah’s Landing at Goose Creek State Park; Bonner Point and Plum Point on Bath Creek.
The Sound Rivers Swim Guide Program is sponsored by the Water Quality Fund in memory of Gene Pate, Grady-White Boats, Cummins, Edward Jones – Rod Cantrell, Cypress Landing, UNC Lenoir Health Care, The Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary National Program, Greenville (evening) Rotary Club, UNC Pavel Molchanov Scholars, ECU SECU Public Fellows Internship Foundation, City of Greenville, Lake Royale Property Owners Association, Melinda Vann and David Silberstein, and Wendy and Tim Wilson .
To sign up for Swim Guide notifications, go to www.sounddrivers.org/swimguide or text “SWIM” to 33222 for weekly water quality updates. For more information on Sound Rivers, visit soundrivers.org.