The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality officials issued a release on July 25 advising the public to avoid swimming in coastal waters in and around Dare and Currituck counties due to high rainfall and flooding from recent storms that may lead to excessive bacteria in the water. Yesterday, heavy rains have caused flooding of streets, yards and housing that resulted in the Town of Kitty Hawk pumping floodwater into the ocean and as of today, additional towns and communities from Nags Head to Corolla are also pumping floodwaters to the ocean.

“Waters impacted by these storms can contain elevated levels of bacteria that can make people sick,” said J.D. Potts, manager of the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program. “Floodwaters and stormwater runoff can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems, sewer line breaks, wildlife, petroleum products and other chemicals.”

Since the impacts are likely widespread, it is not possible to post signs in all areas. The public should avoid swimming in coastal waters in and around Dare and Currituck counties until bacteriological testing indicates bacteria levels fall within the state’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. State officials will begin resampling these locations when roads are passable and 24 hours after stormwater pumping has ceased. This precautionary advisory will be lifted in part or in whole as test results become available.

Note:  In the wake of this release, The Public Information Officer for the Town of Nags Head, Roberta Thurman, sent an email stating that the town is not pumping any water to the ocean and noting that it has asked the state to correct that assertion.


(2) comments


Can anything else possibly go wrong down here at the Outer Banks? Rip currents, rouge waves, red flags, swimming deaths, coyotes, bears, rattlesnakes, ticks, alligators, and now bacteria! No wonder the tourists numbers seem to be way down this year. We will probably see a decrease next year if things do not improve!


The tourists who got here on Sunday in huge traffic jams and then spent 4-5 days in their expensive houses........and NOW can't use the beach when the sun is out.........will probably have more than second thoughts about next year's vacation.

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