State officials advise public to avoid swimming in coastal waters impacted by Hurricane Ian
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has announced that swimming in N.C. coastal waters affected by Hurricane Ian should be avoided.
Per the release, elevated levels of harmful bacteria may be present in waters affected by the storm. In many parts, beach communities have had to pump floodwaters into the ocean due to excess rain. These areas, including wet sand where the floodwater is pumped, should be avoided, even if a sign is not present.
“Severe weather events like hurricanes and tropical storms bring excessive amounts of rain, storm surge and cause extreme flooding. These conditions increase levels of harmful bacteria in our coastal waters that can cause illness,” said Erin Bryan-Millush, manager of the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program. “The sources of bacteria can vary and include failing septic systems, sewer line breaks, overflowing manholes and wildlife.”
Although state officials do not have immediate laboratory confirmation of disease-causing organisms being in the water, the impact of Hurricane Ian, like other major storms, increases the chance of contamination.
Per the announcement, swimming in coastal waters affected by Hurricane Ian should be avoided until testing indicates that the waters are within the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards.
For more information, please visit the NCDEQ website.
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