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More Outer Banks beaches reopen to swimming; some areas still show bacteria in water

State officials lifted a no-swim advisory for most of Dare County on the Outer Banks on Friday.

Beachgoers in Currituck County and five spots in Dare County are still advised to stay out of the ocean, however, because of possibly “elevated levels” of harmful bacteria, the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program said in a news release.

“Heavy rains” on Tuesday flooded streets, yards and homes in Kitty Hawk, prompting the town to pump flood waters that possibly contained “elevated levels of bacteria” into the Atlantic, the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program said in a news release on Wednesday.

Outer Banks communities from Nags Head to Corolla were also pumping flood waters to the ocean, according to the state release.

“Floodwaters and stormwater runoff can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals,” J.D. Potts, manager of the state program, said in the news release.

Because the potentially affected area is so widespread, Potts said in the release, the state was unable to post warning signs everywhere.

On Friday, state officials said in a news release that test results of water samples taken at swimming sites from Hatteras Inlet to Southern Shores found safe bacteria levels. Levels “for most waters meet the state’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s standards set for swimming and water play,” the news release said.

Advisories remain for all of Currituck County and sites in Dare County that have permanent storm water outfall or where storm water pumping continues, state officials said.

Advisories also remain for these five Dare County locations where, according to the state’s news release, the “running monthly average of bacteria levels exceed the state and federal standards:”



At the ocean in Nags Head, the public beach accesses at East Blackman Street; 380 yards southeast of Conch Street; and at Nags Head Bath House at mile post 15.

Sound locations including the Jockey’s Ridge public access in Nags Head and Colington Harbour at the end of Colington Drive in Kill Devil Hills.

Signs at the five sites warn against swimming or otherwise contacting the water, according to the state’s news release.

Up to about 300,000 visitors are in Dare County and up to 30,000 in Currituck County this month, Greenville NBC-TV affiliate WITN reported.



Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak
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