bacteria levels at Wrightsville Beach exceed swimming standards - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

UPDATE: Water quality alert lifted for Wrightsville Beach site

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State recreational water quality officials lifted a water quality swimming alert for a public beach access near Johnnie Mercer's Pier. State recreational water quality officials lifted a water quality swimming alert for a public beach access near Johnnie Mercer's Pier.
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) -

State recreational water quality officials lifted a water quality swimming alert for a public beach access adjacent to Johnnie Mercer's Pier.

On Monday, officials discovered high levels of entercocci bacteria that could lead to illness or skin infections at the Wrightsville Beach access near East Salisbury Street 

Subsequent samples of the site shows that the bacteria levels have dropped to below the state and Environmental Protection Agency's standards set for swimming and water play. 

The samples collected on Monday contained 207 enterococci bacteria per 100 milliliters of water; nearly double the state and federal standard for swimming areas.

Enterococci 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.

State officials say swimming or playing in waters with high bacteria levels increase your 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 web site at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality.

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