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North Carolina DENR: Recreational Water Quality and Shellfish Sanitation Monitoring

Sponsoring Organization:  North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources: Division of Environmental Health

Description:  The program monitors 240 swimming sites that are located on ocean beaches, sounds and coastal rivers. All ocean beaches and high-use sound-side beaches are tested weekly from April through September; lower-use beaches are tested twice a month. All sites are tested twice a month in October and monthly from November through March.

Web Site:  http://www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/shellfish/index.htm

Duration:  01/01/1997 to present  (as of 03/03/2009)

Program Contact:  J.D. Potts

Program Contact Email:  j.d.potts@ncmail.net

Program Contact Web URL:  http://www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/shellfish/Water_Monitoring/RWQweb/contact.htm

Program Purpose:  Our mission is to protect the public health by monitoring the quality of N.C.'s coastal recreational waters and notifying the public when bacteriological standards for safe bodily contact are exceeded. The coastal waters monitored include the ocean beaches, sounds, bays and estuarine rivers.

Data Access Web URL:  http://www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/shellfish/Water_Monitoring/RWQweb/data.htm

Sampling Design:  The Recreational Water Quality program is implemented in full compliance with the federal BEACH Act. The indicator organism used to test is called enterococcus, and when levels are exceeded based on the tiers below, a swimming advisory or alert is issued. * Tier 1 - These beaches are used on a daily basis. All ocean beaches are considered Tier 1-single sample maximum 104 enterococci per 100 ml water or a running monthly average (geometric mean) of 35 enterococci per 100 ml water. There are 92 Tier 1 sites. * Tier 2 - These beaches are used an average of three times per week. The single sample maximum is 276 enterococci per 100 ml water. There are 104 Tier 2 sites. * Tier 3 - These beaches are used an average of four times per month, or used less frequently but intensively for special events such as triathlons. Single sample maximum for these sites is 500 enterococci per 100 ml of water. There are 44 Tier 3 sites.

Data Collection Area Description:  Map http://www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/shellfish/Water_Monitoring/RWQweb/sites.htm

Quality Assurance Plan:  Rules and Regulations http://www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/shellfish/Water_Monitoring/RWQweb/rules.htm

Monitoring Stations:  no stations are currently registered in the database

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