Swim Safe This Summer

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We protect the quality of water and quality of life in coastal NC.

No one should ever have to swim in unsafe waters. How can you tell if your local river or beach is safe? Check out Swim Guide!

Swim Guide is a resource for water lovers informed by the most current water sampling results.

In the White Oak River basin, Swim Guide data is pulled directly from the Department of Environmental Quality’s Recreational Water Quality Program.

From beaches, lakes, or rivers, the Swim Guide is an online map that shows you areas that are safe for water recreation and those unsafe due to bacteria levels or pollution.

How the Swim Guide Works

Polluted water can lead to waterborne illnesses. That’s why it’s important to have current and accurate data: to protect both water and people. If the water exceeds the federal safety standards of safety the water area is considered unsafe for recreation and noted with a red icon. However, if the water is safe, it is marked with a green icon, meaning it’s safe to use.

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Through the Swim Guide website and app, you can easily track your favorite spots and get directions to water areas in your community.


Department of Environmental Quality

You can also find water quality data and swim advisories directly on The Department of Environmental Quality’s website. The DEQ monitors recreational water quality at 213 sites in NC, many of which are in our watershed.

Waters are tested for enterococcus bacteria, which is an indicator organism found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals, transported through feces. The presence of enterococcus does not necessarily cause illness, but can be correlated with disease-causing pathogens. Excess nutrients also associated with fecal contamination can cause algae blooms and fish kills.

Sources of enterococci in recreational waters include:

Sewage, wastewater treatment malfunctions, agricultural runoff, improper manure applications, storm water, domestic animal and wildlife waste, boat waste dumping, polluted groundwater, soils, sediments, and sands.

Ways to reduce bacterial contamination:

  • Always pick up after your pet.
  • Maintain septic tanks.
  • Follow boating sewage regulations.
  • Wash your car at commercial car washes to reduce runoff.
  • Install rain barrels and other methods of runoff control.
  • Protect wetlands that filter pollutants.
  • Reduce impervious surfaces.
  • Advocate for wastewater system improvements.
  • Support local farmers practicing sustainable animal agriculture.
Donate to Water Quality Monitoring Programming
Become a Citizen Member Today!

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Coastal Carolina Riverwatch


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