As the effects of Hurricane Ian pushed up the North Carolina coast Friday, excess rainfall and floodwaters that accumulated in streets and yards in area beach towns have been pumped back into the ocean. Thus state officials are advising against swimming in coastal waters post-Ian.
“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,” Erin Bryan-Millush, manager of the N.C. Recreational Water Quality Program, said in a press release. “The sources of bacteria can vary and include failing septic systems, sewer line breaks, overflowing manholes and wildlife.”
Tests have not confirmed disease-causing organisms, though the chances increase during storms. Contamination can cause adverse health effects.
The state asks individuals from refraining in immersive water activities until bacteriological testing is done and meets the state’s Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. Testing will be conducted once it’s safe to resume swimming activities; the advisory will be lifted upon results coming back in the clear.
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