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Sound Rivers launches Swim Guide

Before you swim, check the Swim Guide.

Local environmental organization Sound Rivers has launched its Swim Guide for a third summer, just in time for Memorial Day. The weekly water quality monitoring program involves collecting and testing water samples from 12 different sites throughout the Tar-Pamlico river basin, from Greenville to the Pungo River. Samples are taken weekly from just before Memorial Day to Labor Day at the following locations: Bonner’s Point, Blounts Bay, Cotton Patch Landing, Cypress Landing, Greenville Town Common, Mason’s Landing, Pamlico Plantation, Port Terminal, Swan Point, the Washington waterfront, Woodstock Point and Yankee Hall Road.

The first results of the year show that two sites exceed water quality standards for E. coli: Mason’s Landing, which provides access to Tranters Creek, just west of Washington, and Port Terminal, along the Tar River in Greenville. E. coli is a bacteria found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals, and some strains can cause illness. Its presence in waterways is an indicator of recent fecal contamination, sources of which could be runoff from agricultural sites, sewage spills or even runoff from the amount of rain the area recently has received

“People swimming or recreating in waters with fecal bacteria levels higher than the recreational water quality standard have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness or skin infections,” reads the Swim Guide update. “The public is recommended to use caution when recreating on or particularly in the water near these locations.”

Sound Rivers started the swim guide in 2018 as a public courtesy for those who enjoy spending time on the river, swimming, skiing and more. Part of the nonprofit’s mission, in addition to protecting the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico rivers’ watersheds, is to monitor the health of the river.

Those interested in receiving Swim Guide updates, can visit www.soundrivers.org/swimguide or text ‘SWIM’ to 33222 for weekly water quality text updates. The Washington Daily News will also be posting them each Friday throughout the summer.