No one should ever have to swim in unsafe waters. But how can you tell if your local river or beach is safe? 

Swim Guide is a resource for North Carolina’s water lovers informed by water sampling by local waterkeeper organizations across the state. From beaches to lakes to rivers, the Swim Guide is an online map that shows you areas that are safe for water recreation and those unsafe due to E. coli bacteria levels or pollution. 

How the Swim Guide Works

Polluted water can lead to thousands of 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. 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.

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


Why Water Quality Is Important

In short: You should care if there is poop in your water. Let’s get real. Water contamination is largely from an overflow of human sewage facilities and runoff from farming activities. This happens due to decades of lack of regulations or slack enforcement. 

Swim Guide provides water lovers with information about the safety of your local recreational water. Swim Guide water samples are collected from Memorial Day to Labor Day, analyzed for E. coli bacteria, and tested for basic water chemistry. Then results are posted online or in the app. Some waters are also tested for basic water chemistry like dissolved Oxygen, pH, and other water quality indicators. 

Bacteria isn’t the only pollution that can ruin your trip to the beach. If you are concerned about water quality, litter, minor spills, or other problems, let us know. For pollution emergencies, like major chemical or biological spills, call the 24-hour emergency response number at (800) 858-0368.

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