Sound Rivers Swim Guide returns for the seventh year for weekly testings

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) -An environmental group says their swim guide is returning for a seventh year to help keep residents and visitors alike safe.

Sound Rivers says they will update the guide weekly on where it’s safe to swim in local waterways, from the Piedmont to the Pamlico Sound.

Sites are monitored for E. Coli bacteria in freshwater and enterococci in salt water, both of which can cause an increased risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin infections in both people and their pets.

“When sites fail, that means there’s a lot of bacteria in the water. Many times, we see this after a hard rain, especially downstream of heavily developed areas where stormwater runoff is washing all sorts of stuff into the waterways,” said program director, Clay Barber. “Sites consistently failing even in dry weather, however, can indicate a more significant problem. Last year, we identified two pollution sources — one due to aging sewer infrastructure, the other because of failing septic systems — and worked with local governments to address the issues.”

You can check the guide out here or you can sign up for text alerts by texting “SWIM” to 833-686-5322.