17 recreational sites fail Sound Rivers Swim Guide E. coli test

Group warns to avoid swimming in some rivers because of bacteria
Group warns to avoid swimming in some rivers because of bacteria(WITN)
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 10:15 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) -Sound Rivers says seventeen sites failed the Swim Guide bacteria test this week in the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse river watersheds.

Swim Guide is an international water-quality program conducted locally by Sound Rivers, an environmental nonprofit with a mission to keep North Carolina’s waterways fishable, swimmable and drinkable.

Each week, a team of Sound Rivers’ volunteers gathers water samples at 49 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 the bacteria E. coli by Sound Rivers’ staff, and results are released to the public, providing an easy way to find out where it’s safe to swim. Where it’s not, boaters, swimmers and their pets should avoid the water or practice caution at these sites, as exposure to bacteria-laden waters comes with an increased risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin infections.

Five sites in the Upper Neuse tested positive for E. coli at levels unsafe for recreation, exceeding state and federal standards: Buffaloe Road canoe launch, Milburnie canoe launch, Anderson Point canoe launch, Clayton Riverwalk, and Smithfield Town Commons.

Six sites in the Lower Neuse tested positive: Oak Bluff Road, Cowpen Landing, Slocum Creek in Havelock, Rice Creek on the Bay River, and Midyette St. and Pierce Creek in Oriental.

Six sites along the Tar-Pamlico also tested positive: Sunset Park in Rocky Mount, Town Common and Port Terminal and Greenville, Yankee Hall at Pactolus, and Mason’s Landing, Havens Garden in Washington.

To sign up for Swim Guide notifications, go to or text “SWIM” to 33222 for weekly water-quality text updates.

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