coastal water
quality like in
North Carolina?
In general, North Carolina coastal
water quality is very good. We
collected more than 6,000 water
samples on the coast last year and
issued 46 swimming advisories, most of which involved
sound-side waters and lasted for a single day. While we
would prefer to have issued no swimming advisories at all,
the relatively low number of advisories and the days they
lasted show that the state has primarily localized, temporary

Will I get sick if I
swim in waters
under a
Not necessarily, but you are at an
increased risk of illness.
Pathogens come from both human
and animal causes. Poorly treated
wastewater from treatment plants,
malfunctioning septic systems and boat
discharges are sources of fecal
contamination. Stormwater runoff from
agricultural and urban areas delivers
pathogens from humans, livestock, wildlife and pets into
recreational waters. Germs rinsed off other swimmers and
children directly into the bathing area are also sources of

The section samples 243 stations
throughout the coastal area at different
frequencies, depending on the time of
year and use patterns of the site. The
ocean beaches and other high usage
areas are sampled once per week
between the beginning of April and the
end of September. All stations are
sampled twice per month during October, and then once per
month from November through March. Swimming advisories
are not issued in the winter because few people are in the
water at that time.
mouth of Baird Creek (aka Beards Creek).