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Topsail Beach News

Pat McCrory, Governor
John E. Skvarla, III,Secretary

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Date:July 29, 2014
Contact: : Erin Bryan-Millush / JD Potts
Phone: (252) 726-6827 ext. 8153/ 8154


Water quality swimming alert issued for sound-side site in Pender County


MOREHEAD CITY – State recreational water quality officials today are alerting the public that initial testing at a sound-side site in Pender County showed levels of bacteria exceeding the state and Environmental Protection Agency’s recreational water quality swimming standards.

The alert affects waters at the public sound-side access #S-1 at the end of Shore Line Drive in Topsail Beach. Samples collected yesterday show test results of 238 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water,which exceeds the state and federal single-sample standard of 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters for Tier 1 high usage sites. Swimming areas are classified based on recreational use and are referred to as tiers.

State officials will test the site again today, and the results of the sampling will dictate further action. If the new samples also show elevated bacteria counts, state officials will post a swimming advisory sign and issue a swimming advisory.  

The N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program tests water quality at ocean and sound beaches in accordance with federal and state laws.


Enterococci, the bacteria group used for testing, are found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. While it does not cause illness, scientific studies indicate that enterococci may indicate the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standards have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections.


State officials sample 240 sites throughout the coastal region, most of them on a weekly basis from April to October. Testing continues on a reduced schedule during the rest of the year, when the waters are colder.

To find out more about North Carolina’s beach water quality,visit the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program website at: on @ncrecprgm.



NCDENR-Division of Marine Fisheries

Shellfish Sanitation and Recreational Water Quality Section


FAX:(252) 726-8475

Email correspondence to and from this address is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties unless the content is exempt by statute or other regulation.

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