N.C. host to some of cleanest beaches in US

Clean beach

Beachgoers enjoy a hot day on a clean beach at the public beach access by mile marker No. 19 off New River Inlet Road in North Topsail recently. According to a recent water quality report, the state has some of the cleanest beaches in the country, including Topsail Beach, which was named one of 35 ‘superstars.’

Photo by Maria Sestito/The Daily News
Published: Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM.

With summer now in full swing, many vacationers are seeking relief from the heat by splashing around in the waters of North Carolina.

Luckily for swimmers, North Carolina was recently shown to have some of the cleanest beaches in the country.

Approximately 3,500 sites were tested in 2013 from all over the United States. Out of the 30 states surveyed, North Carolina finished 5th overall in beach water quality with only an average of 4 percent of all collected water samples failing to meet new and more vigorous Environmental Protection Agency safety thresholds.

The report, Testing the Waters 2014, was recently released by environmental action group Natural Resources Defense Council.

Half of North Carolina’s 240 tested beaches scored perfectly on national bacteria safety thresholds. For the other 120 locations, 74 beaches had up to 10 percent of collected samples exceed safety thresholds, 24 beaches had 10 to 20 percent of collected samples exceed safety thresholds and 19 beaches had more than 20 percent of collected samples exceed safety thresholds.

Local officials, such as those with the Recreational Water Quality of the Division of Marine Fisheries in Morehead City, were responsible for testing the beach water for bacteria and issuing closings or advisories when bacteria exceeded safe levels.

“We set up our sites at areas that see the most usage, like public access areas and resort areas,” J.D. Potts said. “In 2013, we processed a total of 6,836 samples from hundreds of sites.”

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