But New Hanover County officials are continuing to do water quality testing at the county park along the Northeast Cape Fear River, and recent results have mostly been within federal and state safe standards, said Shawn Ralston, the county’s senior environmental planner.
However, the bacteria woes that emerged several years ago were from contamination in the sediment that gets kicked back up into the water column when people swim or simply wade into the river.
But Ralston said there’s little the county can do to fix that problem since even removing the sediment would only be a temporary fix because the river is constantly washing new sediment downstream.
Technically, the “beach” at the county park isn’t a swimming beach — although it has been a popular watering hole for decades.
Still, swimming there isn’t condoned by the county.
Signs warning about the health risk of water contact due to the elevated bacteria levels have been posted, in English and Spanish, since 2008.
“We are discouraging swimming by putting the signs up,” Ralston said.
Date posted: August 26, 2010
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